I have chosen the city of Shanghai to represent the unique qualities of modernity in the
city over time. I thought Shanghai would be an interesting city to represent this as it is the
largest city in China and it has an extremely large population with just over 24 million
people. Shanghai is a city of economic, financial and commercial significance so it is of
vital importance to the future of China.
There is a massive contrast between the two images.We can clearly see how Shanghai has
developed and modernized over time when you compare these two images. In the first
image we can see many factories and warehouses and the second image shows the same
region but it has changed dramatically overtime with many skyscrapers including the
Shanghai Tower which is the world’s second tallest building . According to (Justin
O’Connor) Shanghai formed an identity after foreign powers were opened by the 1842
Treaty of Nanking. It can be claimed that it was ignored during the Cultural Revolution of
the 1960s and 1970s. However in 1990, Shanghai experienced intense development as
China became more modern.
This historical map of Shanghai shows how the city has modernized as it is far more built
up now and sky scrapers are fighting for space in the city nowadays. However there is still
public spaces for the many millions of people living in the city. The best example of this
is People’s square in the Huangpu District. Even though Shanghai has an enormous and
expanding population it is developed and modernized in such a way that it can cater for all
these people quite well because of it open public squares.
O’Connor, Justin (2012): Culture Unbound,Volume 4.
Reference for images:
Mondrolle’s Guide books: Northern China, The valley of the Blue River, Kerera Hachette & Company, 1912 available at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/historical/shang_hai_evirons_1912.jpg