China and the Urbanism of Ambition « Stephen Rees’s blog

China and the Urbanism of Ambition « Stephen Rees’s blog

Thanks to Stephen Rees for putting up notes about this recent talk at SFU.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to go.  Life just gets too busy, but China definitely has a big interest to me (if you haven’t figured out already).

It seems the speaker, Tom Campanella, had quite a “shock and awe” type presentation that didn’t really impress.

I have visited China’s megacities of Beijing and Shanghai, and I can’t say I like them very much. There are three-level highway interchanges in Shanghai and Beijing has a huge system of ring roads that encircle the city.  All of these roads are packed and traffic rules are not as we think of traffic rules.

If you ever get a chance to visit a small city of about 2 million (yes, that’s small), hopefully, you will get a feel for what China was like through the mid-20th Century.  Living during those times was not easy nor desirable, but the cities were set up to be compact and easy to get around by bicycle.  My favourite cities in China tend to be the smaller ones that have not been overrun by massive development and highways.  However, the cities I have visited are probably completely different now because it has been almost 10 years since I had lived and worked in China.


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