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.

Figure 1 :This images conveys Pudong in 1987 when the population was only 11 million.
Figure 2: This image shows Pudong in 2013- the development is amazing.

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.

Figure 3: Historical map of Shanghai in 1912

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