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Shanghai's Spectacular Growth, in One Photo [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2013-3-17 10:25:01 |Display all floors

Yesterday, Olga Khazan directed our attention to a fascinating satellite image, produced by scientists at ETH Zurich, showing the startling difference in Shanghai's light intensity in the past 20 years. Whereas in 1992 the map revealed just a few specks of light amid a black landscape, the 2009 image showed a vast sea of energy spreading from Shanghai all through the surrounding Yangtze River Delta, a region of tremendous economic productivity in China.

As great as these images are, a far more terrestrial perspective on Shanghai yields an equally astounding vision. Consider the photograph at the top of this post, of the city's Pudong Financial District: Pudong's skyline, with the glittering Oriental Pearl Tower standing apart like a Space Needle on steroids, has already emerged as one of the world's most distinctive.

In 1990, none of it existed.

Yes, that's right- less than 25 years ago, the very skyline that enveloped James Bond in Skyfallwas simply a glint in Deng Xiaoping's eye. In 1978, the Chinese leader chose southerly Guangdong Province as his laboratory for economic reform, and while newly-christened Special Economic Zones like Shenzhen raced ahead, Shanghai languished in something of a malaise. Only when new Chinese president Jiang Zemin -- himself a former Shanghai party boss -- assumed office did the city's economic fortunes begin to turn. His results, as displayed in the image below (via Catherine Rampell), speak for themselves.

Despite the glitz, Pudong isn't all that exciting of a place to hang out. Most of Shanghai's culture, history, and nightlife happens on the other side of the Huangpu River, and many of Shanghai's residents -- both local and foreign -- regard Pudong as a soulless ghost town. But the very fact that it exists is a perfect symbol of the vast scale of China's development.

This post originally appeared on the Atlantic.

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Post time 2013-3-17 10:34:31 |Display all floors
So what?

Are the lives of the ordinary Shanghainese any better?
Are their air quality in the city any cleaner?
Are their water from the river any more drinkable?

It's the quality, not the size that matters.

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Post time 2013-3-18 09:05:05 |Display all floors
Jackson_Deng Post time: 2013-3-17 10:34
So what?

Are the lives of the ordinary Shanghainese any better?

As to the quality of life, that is open to interpretation but in answer to the other questions yes, the water and air is better now. In the past the Huangpu and Suzhou rivers were open sewers and the air was full of smoke from solid fuel fires from cooking and heating, wore than the car pollution now created.

There has been the recent problem with dead pigs in the river but in the past it was common place for the very poor to place the dead people into the river

Although I love history and am in favor of keeping old things you have to accept that some ( not all ) progress is for the better.

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Post time 2013-3-18 11:04:59 |Display all floors
I concur
Pudong side is rather DRY compared to the livelier old city of Shanghai.
This is the CITY planners nightmare, as THE MARKET does not seem to accept dictats of bureaucratic planning.

Seen that all the time, from the lonely streets of PUTRAJAYA, lonely streets of CANBERRA..........people like familiarity, of friendly faces........

dislike unfriendly government command and demand methods.

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Post time 2013-3-18 13:06:22 |Display all floors

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Post time 2013-3-18 15:02:40 |Display all floors
Shanghai's growth is amazing

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Post time 2013-3-18 18:20:40 |Display all floors
13000 pigs already foun in the Huangpu.

Yes, the word is correct: SPECTACULAR.

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