China

From China’s Interior, A Step Back in Time, A Photo Essay

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In the China of the 21th century, the one where all is about reckless growth, competition and the inevitable slide down into vicious consumerism of colossal proportions, there is still a big portion of it that has not caught up with the craze and preserves its most traditional qualities almost untouched.  read more »

Subjects:

India Conquers the World

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From the exclusive Club Lounge on the 19th floor of Singapore’s Mandarin Oriental, Anish Lalvani gazes out at the city’s skyline, a dazzling array of glass and steel and vertical ambition. The Lalvani family has come a long way since the days when Anish’s paternal grandfather, Tirath Singh Lalvani, got his start in business by retailing medicines to King George VI’s soldiers in Karachi. Back then the city was a part of British colonial India—until independence arrived in 1947, and its inhabitants suddenly found themselves amid the bloody turmoil of the newborn Pakistan.  read more »

A Guide to China’s Rising Urban Areas

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From a Rural to Urban Dispersion in the Middle Kingdom

China’s rise to economic prominence over the past 30 years has rested in large part to its rapid    urbanization. Prior to ‘reform and opening up’ that started in earnest during the 1970s, cities in China were viewed as pariahs by the party leadership. Millions of young urban dwellers were forced into the countryside to labor on farming communes during the Cultural Revolution. In stark contrast, today millions of rural migrants make their way to the city.  read more »

The Evolving Urban Form: Shanghai

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According to the results of the 2010 census, Shanghai's population was nearly 1,000,000 people more than had been projected by local authorities. The provincial level of jurisdiction grew from a population of 16.4 million in 2000 to 23.0 million in 2010. Shanghai is one of the world's fastest growing megacities (urban regions of more than 10 million population).  read more »

The Other China: Life on the Streets, A Photo Essay

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We all know or have heard about the overwhelming development going on in China. Journalists enthuse and analysts throw magnificent statistics of what seems to be a miracle. Yet there is little discussion of the daily life of the common people, and their struggle. There are miracles aplenty in China, but the astounding figures only partially reflect the reality.  read more »

Asia’s New Landless Peasants?

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Landless people have long sparked instability in Asia. From the days of the Qin dynasty (3rd century B.C.), through the huge Taiping rebellion in the mid-19th century, to the successful Communist revolutions in China and Vietnam and a nearly successful insurrection in Malaysia during the mid-20th, the property-less have historically risen against those in power.  read more »

China: Urbanizing and Moving East: 2010 Census

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The National Bureau of Statistics of China has just released the first results of the 2010 census. The new figures portray a radically reduced population growth rate, rapid urbanization and an unprecedented domination of population growth by the East Coast.  read more »

How China’s Megacities Have Avoided Problems of Other Developing Cities

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Urbanist media can’t seem to get enough of the megacity these days. Much of the commentary surrounding this topic is disconcertingly celebratory about these leviathans despite such phenomena as overcrowding, high levels of congestion and sprawling slums.  read more »

Downtown China

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In Downtown: It's Rise and Fall, 1880-1950, Robert M Fogelson says that downtowns are a uniquely American phenomenon. He refers to downtown as the commercial cores with high building densities that form "canyons" that, in some smaller urban areas, might be only a block long to a mile or more long.  Fogelson demonstrates that downtowns in the United States are largely a creation of rail transit (subways or metros, street cars and their predecessor horse cars).  read more »

Getting Married Naked

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One of my girlfriends just invited me to attend her wedding ceremony next month. In our short conversation, I learned that she and her husband have already moved into their brand new, three-bedroom condo (we barely have any detached houses, called villas, in China), purchased a new car, and will have three separate wedding ceremonies: in the groom’s hometown, the bride’s hometown, and the city where they currently live. Based on this description, you are probably picturing a couple in their late 30s who must hold high-paying respectable jobs.  read more »