There is a sense of can-do optimism that permeates the not too polluted air in Shanghai. It has three of the largest buildings on earth, all within a few blocks of each other, all built within the last 10 years.
The oldest the Jinmai , metal clad and starwarsian, ready to burst into space.
The second is the International Finance Center with its bottle opener top and a Guiness World Record certified highest observatory level in the world. In Shanghai one-upsmanship or more accurately, upsbuildingship, the new Shanghai Tower, topping off at 632 meters more than 140 higher than its neighbor, rises up sleekly with a slow twist defying imagination. Although it is not yet open, its internal lighting scheme shines glitters day and night.
Shanghai is a planner’s wet dream with new projects bursting forward every day. The Maglev train from the airport that travels at 300kph in eight minutes covering 25+ kms in contrast to the Oakland airport connector which costs almost the same to ride and takes about that long to go three kms. An excellent subway system connecting vast parts of the city quickly and quietly. There is in a large urban planning museum downtown.
The city is being rebuilt completely. The old city might easily be gone in a few short years. To house and job 23 million in such a short time might be a wonder off the world. Sustainable, I don’t know. Impressive it is. But if all is new and rebuilt what happens to a soul of a city? People seem happy and looking forward to a better life.
The new is gleaming and I loved the relative ease of travelling around. Cars do not dominate the city like elsewhere in the world and if the authorities have their way never will. If growth is planned for in the existing transportation system, the need and incentive for cars are diminished.
With a planned economy, even such a state capitalist one, the planners don’t allow cars to be advertised and therefore consumer desire is held back.
Not to worry consumer list is being focused on brand name items. Walking around the city, it is clear that Quanyin the goddess of success and prosperity has been replaced Estee Lauder promising great skin and prosperity. As Americans remember the slogan ” America is open for business” as the reaction to 911, the Chinese are urged for the welfare of the country to consume in order to develop.
Christmas is turns out us a great advertising opportunity even though it is not a holiday and few if any give presents ( except for apples– the word for apple is similar to their word used for Christmas). So in this way they have outdone American consumers who still hold outdated ideas of a meaning for Christmas, now that we know that Thanksgiving is for celebrating the deals one can get on-line and in big box shops.
The art scene might give some answers. The Power Station of Art, smaller galleries and the street gives some clues. The McStruggle is one theme…the socialist struggle dB turned capitalist.