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Old August 4th, 2009, 12:24 PM   #1201
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drunkenmunkey888 View Post
So they are building an extra set of elevated tracks only between baoshan road and railway station? I'm a bit confused as to how this would solve the problem seeing as how any extra capacity would be neutralized because after railway station, they would be channeled back on the two tracks and cause just as bad of a bottleneck.

And wouldn't these extra tracks also be a good opportunity to introduce an express service? Have Line 3 be local and Line 4 express/vice-versa? That stretch definitely needs it.
from my memory, line 4 and line 2 only merges from baoshan raod to railway station, but the problem is, if they only increase only the tracks without making the stations larger, wouldn't it still be the same, that they can not increase the frequency of the metro..

also just an interesting thought, just wondering how hard it is to plan the timetable for the metro, everytime you want to transit from line 4 to line 3 but in opposite direction, it is almost certain you can catch the next line 3 in less than 1 minute in the rush hours, i think its some pretty amazing stuff XD
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Old August 5th, 2009, 05:20 AM   #1202
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Giant maps!

from Shanghai Urban Planning and Design Research Institute

_____ now
_____ 2010
_ _ _ _ 2012
_____ 2020

Overall ~



Urban area ~

Last edited by liwentao_tom; August 7th, 2009 at 05:41 AM.
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Old August 5th, 2009, 11:34 AM   #1203
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Full size map

Thanks a lot!

I see that next year already, line 11 shall go all the way to the border of Suzhou.

Should it go across the border, too?
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Old August 5th, 2009, 06:44 PM   #1204
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Originally Posted by chornedsnorkack View Post
Thanks a lot!

I see that next year already, line 11 shall go all the way to the border of Suzhou.

Should it go across the border, too?
Jiangsu, not Suzhou (Suzhou is a city in the province of Jiangsu). From what I've heard, there are plans to extend Line 11 into Jiangsu, at least as far as Kunshan (昆山), though when this will happen, I don't know.

As for the maps, thanks so much! They're really fantastic and informative. Just a question, though - both maps claim that Line 22 to Jinshan will open next year. I've never even heard of this line before, much less known that it was under construction. Is this a mistake on the map? I can see it open by 2020, but by next year seems like a real stretch.
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Old August 6th, 2009, 03:43 AM   #1205
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Originally Posted by The Chemist View Post
Jiangsu, not Suzhou (Suzhou is a city in the province of Jiangsu). From what I've heard, there are plans to extend Line 11 into Jiangsu, at least as far as Kunshan (昆山), though when this will happen, I don't know.

As for the maps, thanks so much! They're really fantastic and informative. Just a question, though - both maps claim that Line 22 to Jinshan will open next year. I've never even heard of this line before, much less known that it was under construction. Is this a mistake on the map? I can see it open by 2020, but by next year seems like a real stretch.
That's actually an old railway line(Jinshan Line). But now they're transforming it. When the 56KM-long Jinshan Line reopened next year ,it will take only 30 minutes from Shanghai South Railway Station to Jinshan Stantion.(Slow train costs 45 minutes ,which stops at all the 9 stations)

But I don't know how can it be the line22?

This news was out of date since I can't find a newer one.
http://www.shanghaidaily.com/sp/arti...cle_381029.htm
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Old August 6th, 2009, 06:25 AM   #1206
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Quote:
Originally Posted by liwentao_tom View Post
from Shanghai Urban Planning and Design Research Institute
Can you rehost those images?
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Old August 6th, 2009, 12:19 PM   #1207
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Originally Posted by The Chemist View Post
Jiangsu, not Suzhou (Suzhou is a city in the province of Jiangsu).
A prefecture-level city at that. One which has a border with Shanghai.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Chemist View Post
From what I've heard, there are plans to extend Line 11 into Jiangsu, at least as far as Kunshan (昆山), though when this will happen, I don't know.
Would it make sense to extend the line all the way to Suzhou city centre?
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Old August 7th, 2009, 05:15 AM   #1208
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Originally Posted by chornedsnorkack View Post
A prefecture-level city at that. One which has a border with Shanghai.


Would it make sense to extend the line all the way to Suzhou city centre?
Linked with the Suzhou Metro...
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Old August 7th, 2009, 05:46 AM   #1209
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Originally Posted by urbanfan89 View Post
Can you rehost those images?
Done!
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Old August 7th, 2009, 10:45 AM   #1210
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Originally Posted by liwentao_tom View Post
Linked with the Suzhou Metro...
Could someone show a map of both Shanghai and Suzhou metro?
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Old August 7th, 2009, 02:41 PM   #1211
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The mixing idea is just drunkenmunkey888's proposal which is very unlikely to happen. All lines proposed for Shanghai Metro would be qualified as conventional subway in North America. There is actually no light rail in mainland China. China's concept of "light rail" is just subway elevated, like the subway in Chicago. I think Shanghai's enormous size and density justifies subway of such length instead of low-cost options such as light rail. Shanghai has much more people than what you read from official sources. Consider how many more highrise residential towers are built in Shanghai compared to NYC and you'll see what I mean. Shanghai needs to move all these people across a large urban area efficiently. Besides, I don't think there is any reason to assume the city can't maintain the metro system. Nobody would think Shanghai is able to build such an extensive metro network 5 years ago I believe. Keep in mind that China and America operate differently. In US the people are rich there are many more billionares but government is generally in lack of funding for public infrastructure (US is very generous to military though, far more so than any other country in the world, and is also more generous to education and healthcare than China). In China the goverment itself is a huge player in the economy, and so far it always has money for public infrastructure despite that the people are far less well off than in US. Besides, I think China is more willing to maintain public infrastructure than US. China may lacked the technology and implemented lots of outdated systems in the past, but what they can do they usually try to do the best. For example, I think most roads in China cities are maintained better than in US. They might not have a good draining system, but the surface work of major arteries are always maintained smooth, unlike in the US potholes are very common even on highways. Another example is that many of China's old buildings may be considered ugly by western standard, but they always paint the four sides, unlike in US for many buildings only the front is painted. To be honest, many buildings and bridges might be considered charming old memories in the US, but if they build such things in China nowadays, people would react very negatively toward the government since the main belief people hold is that everything is related to the government. I think it is just different definition of what is bearable aesthetically speaking. Based on what I understand about Chinese culture, they will put every effort in maintaining the subway system and the stations as well. You'll never find Shanghai Metro in the same condition as NYC subway today unless China becomes far poorer in the future than right now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashis Mitra View Post
Are they thinking suburban rail & light rail also metro? It is a wrong conception. Metro is actually conventional subways. Suburban rails has lower quality stocks and connects city with its suburbs, and light rail is a vehicle which is smaller than metro but larger than tram.

Last edited by ilovecz; August 7th, 2009 at 11:29 PM.
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Old August 14th, 2009, 05:54 PM   #1212
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Just discovered this wonderful forum, and what a thread!

Overall, I am cautiously optimistic about Shanghai's new Metro system. It has a good basic structure of core radial lines and supporting local lines, however, micro-structuring and attention to detail are appauling.

In the early planning stages Shanghai envisaged a quasi-Paris style R/M/L structure, R-lines remotely resembling the RER network, reaching distant satellite towns, M-lines staying more or less in the existing urban areas, and L lines being the local light-rail configured lines (lines 15 - 18 being good examples). This structure seems to have been dropped, so the Metro system is more going to resemble the London Underground system, which is fine - at the end of the day a Hongqiao - Puting Airport line 2 is not that different from the Piccadilly Line, and one can bare commuting of up to 90 minutes one way, which will still be a vast improvement from current commuting by express bus routes. There are, though, far too many caviats, especially in the wider planning culture.

Borough councils in China have far too much power, and admittedly the City Council can be a bit lame. Planning is hardly systemmatic, all too often things depend on money changing hands, strings attached and media spin. Line 5 illustrates this problem most effectively. This line was to be an extension of the Line 1, but Minhang Borough Council became impatient so built its own line 5 which, lo and behold, is not compatible with the existing line 1. The result - the vast majority of those line-5 passengers getting off at the terminus at Xingzhuang change for line 1 to head into town - how ingenious. This episode of long-distance passengers having to make an unecessary change is to be repeated with line 19, 20 and 21, which used to be extensions of the 9, 2 and 11 respectively.

In certain respects urban/rural divide is growing in Shanghai. Planning standards in the central urban area contrast wildly with that in outer rural areas and old towns - in fact there is NO planning whatsoever in rural China. Too many of the old towns are nothing more than favelas with no land-use planning or health-and-safety consideration whatsoever. Sure metro lines are being extended into rural areas but that is more a case of yuppies taking over. The stations are built in the most remote locations as far possible from existing town centres, to serve new city dwellers.

Instead of carrying out carrying out rural towns and villages they choose to completely ignore them and build new towns to high urban standards several miles away. They fork out millions of ¥¥¥'s to make sure underground stations are built in core central districts like the People's Square and Xujiahui, while when one asks the same for rural towns and potential satellite towns they just shrug and say 'can't afford it'. So the traditional market towns lose their community centre status and live in the shadows of, and resources sucked away to the new towns full of yuppies, and you end up with the most umbalanced demographic structure.

There is also this widespread discrimination against anything rural. The current ambition is almost to completely urbanise the whole area inside the administrative boundary of Shanghai and to squeeze out anything rural. It doesn't take a person with half a brain to work out this will only result in the world's biggest monstrocity. They do not understand that rural economic activities are just as important as urban ones (afterall what are we to eat and wear otherwise), so instead of improving the lives of rural people and the rural landscape, everyone aspires to have an urban 'passport' and pretends it's alright to leave the primary sector to some 'second-class' citizens. So you see the most ugly concrete flyovers and glass/plastic looking buildings in the countryside.

Moving onto micro-structuring, a notion non-existent in China. There is a sound basic structure of the core central area and a surrounding sphere of influence, and planning at a local level is haphazard at best. Everywhere wants to have sky scrapers, banking and commerce to compete with the central core and each other, without realising there is by no means so much requirement for these things, so vacant rate is already quite high. High street retail on the other hand is underdeveloped. Because of this messy land-use (non-)planning you get your most appauling urban sprawl.

Politics in China has always been backward and inward looking. They do not understand that a world-class city like Shanghai will have an ever-growing hinterland, stretching well beyond the current urban area and administrative area. Also because of the urban/rural divide, they don't understand they can increase the area of the sphere of influence without urbanising everything, there is no notion of the urban-rural continuum. This is the primary reason why a London-style commuter rail network is non-existent. Everything stops at the boundary and there's no room for future growth - so you end up with discrete lines and system and having to change trains for no apparant reason. Most critically, there isn't a ring of railway terminals around central Shanghai like there is in London and Paris, and now skyscraper occupies every hectares of land, both in central Shanghai and in the future in satellite towns, it will be very difficult to build such a system.

The most excruciatingly annoying pain in the abnomen is the Chinese Railway Authority (铁道部), which stands in the way of progress at every available opportunity. The development board (发改委) is a close second in this respect come to think of it. These are so backward looking authorities with such ancient mindsets. Planning is not coordinated or streamlined but everyone fights for their self-interests, so the only way to progress is to skirt around the red-tapes, which cannot get any more inefficient.

Sorry to end on such a negative note, and please note this is not an arrogant westerner having a dig at China, but a Chinese living in the UK merely making some observations, admittedly coupled with some sensational language.

Rant over - feeling much better now. ;D
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Old August 14th, 2009, 08:18 PM   #1213
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I don't see anything special in your negative comments. They are problems existed anywhere in the world, and if anything, in those aspects, China cities are usually much more efficient than the rest of the world because their authority are more centralized. Skyscrapers everywhere? Maybe you are used to London's two-small-skyline style, but this does not work for Shanghai. Shanghai has much more people and needs more office space in the long run. Not just the big international companies, but also local ones. It will resemble more to Tokyo than London or New York. It needs to divert people into multiple centers instead of having them all commute from the outliers to one city center, which will create huge unsolvable problems of traffic. If you think about it, the borough competition and skyscraper eveywhere layout you mentioned makes urban sprawl much less of an issue in Shanghai. Most people can get what they need in a radias of 3 block area. I can't imagine Shanghai with only one city center where you put everything. This nonsense is just from some people who think they have seen the appeal of lifestyle in western countries and don't necessarily know what they are talking about.

I don't see your point of rural areas. I don't think there is any metro system in the world designed for farmers from rural areas. Metro systems extend to suburbs, not rural areas. Only in China the suburbs look different. They have highrise condos surrounding local skyscrapers and retail. That's all. Beyound these highrise "suburban" residential areas it is truly rural, meaning you can see farmland, although the housing developments surrounding the farmlands are still dense. One minute you are saying they are ruining rural areas by urbanizing them. The other minute you are saying everything stops at a boundary. You got yourself confused I think. There is absolutely no western style suburb in east China. We simply don't have the land to develop such things. Just get over it. Besides, those low density suburbs are the main contributor to urban sprawl anyways. High street retail? Shanghai moves high-end shops into buildings because there are too many people on the street and you have a more pleasant atmosphere shopping inside. In the western world they make every effort to lure people onto the street in order to create a vibrancy feel. In Shanghai it is really about how you can drag people away from street so that people can breathe. There are constantly too many people on the street at least during the day and it is always super crowded.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NCT View Post
Just discovered this wonderful forum, and what a thread!

Overall, I am cautiously optimistic about Shanghai's new Metro system. It has a good basic structure of core radial lines and supporting local lines, however, micro-structuring and attention to detail are appauling.

In the early planning stages Shanghai envisaged a quasi-Paris style R/M/L structure, R-lines remotely resembling the RER network, reaching distant satellite towns, M-lines staying more or less in the existing urban areas, and L lines being the local light-rail configured lines (lines 15 - 18 being good examples). This structure seems to have been dropped, so the Metro system is more going to resemble the London Underground system, which is fine - at the end of the day a Hongqiao - Puting Airport line 2 is not that different from the Piccadilly Line, and one can bare commuting of up to 90 minutes one way, which will still be a vast improvement from current commuting by express bus routes. There are, though, far too many caviats, especially in the wider planning culture.

Borough councils in China have far too much power, and admittedly the City Council can be a bit lame. Planning is hardly systemmatic, all too often things depend on money changing hands, strings attached and media spin. Line 5 illustrates this problem most effectively. This line was to be an extension of the Line 1, but Minhang Borough Council became impatient so built its own line 5 which, lo and behold, is not compatible with the existing line 1. The result - the vast majority of those line-5 passengers getting off at the terminus at Xingzhuang change for line 1 to head into town - how ingenious. This episode of long-distance passengers having to make an unecessary change is to be repeated with line 19, 20 and 21, which used to be extensions of the 9, 2 and 11 respectively.

In certain respects urban/rural divide is growing in Shanghai. Planning standards in the central urban area contrast wildly with that in outer rural areas and old towns - in fact there is NO planning whatsoever in rural China. Too many of the old towns are nothing more than favelas with no land-use planning or health-and-safety consideration whatsoever. Sure metro lines are being extended into rural areas but that is more a case of yuppies taking over. The stations are built in the most remote locations as far possible from existing town centres, to serve new city dwellers.

Instead of carrying out carrying out rural towns and villages they choose to completely ignore them and build new towns to high urban standards several miles away. They fork out millions of ¥¥¥'s to make sure underground stations are built in core central districts like the People's Square and Xujiahui, while when one asks the same for rural towns and potential satellite towns they just shrug and say 'can't afford it'. So the traditional market towns lose their community centre status and live in the shadows of, and resources sucked away to the new towns full of yuppies, and you end up with the most umbalanced demographic structure.

There is also this widespread discrimination against anything rural. The current ambition is almost to completely urbanise the whole area inside the administrative boundary of Shanghai and to squeeze out anything rural. It doesn't take a person with half a brain to work out this will only result in the world's biggest monstrocity. They do not understand that rural economic activities are just as important as urban ones (afterall what are we to eat and wear otherwise), so instead of improving the lives of rural people and the rural landscape, everyone aspires to have an urban 'passport' and pretends it's alright to leave the primary sector to some 'second-class' citizens. So you see the most ugly concrete flyovers and glass/plastic looking buildings in the countryside.

Moving onto micro-structuring, a notion non-existent in China. There is a sound basic structure of the core central area and a surrounding sphere of influence, and planning at a local level is haphazard at best. Everywhere wants to have sky scrapers, banking and commerce to compete with the central core and each other, without realising there is by no means so much requirement for these things, so vacant rate is already quite high. High street retail on the other hand is underdeveloped. Because of this messy land-use (non-)planning you get your most appauling urban sprawl.

Politics in China has always been backward and inward looking. They do not understand that a world-class city like Shanghai will have an ever-growing hinterland, stretching well beyond the current urban area and administrative area. Also because of the urban/rural divide, they don't understand they can increase the area of the sphere of influence without urbanising everything, there is no notion of the urban-rural continuum. This is the primary reason why a London-style commuter rail network is non-existent. Everything stops at the boundary and there's no room for future growth - so you end up with discrete lines and system and having to change trains for no apparant reason. Most critically, there isn't a ring of railway terminals around central Shanghai like there is in London and Paris, and now skyscraper occupies every hectares of land, both in central Shanghai and in the future in satellite towns, it will be very difficult to build such a system.

The most excruciatingly annoying pain in the abnomen is the Chinese Railway Authority (铁道部), which stands in the way of progress at every available opportunity. The development board (发改委) is a close second in this respect come to think of it. These are so backward looking authorities with such ancient mindsets. Planning is not coordinated or streamlined but everyone fights for their self-interests, so the only way to progress is to skirt around the red-tapes, which cannot get any more inefficient.

Sorry to end on such a negative note, and please note this is not an arrogant westerner having a dig at China, but a Chinese living in the UK merely making some observations, admittedly coupled with some sensational language.

Rant over - feeling much better now. ;D

Last edited by ilovecz; August 15th, 2009 at 01:38 AM.
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Old August 15th, 2009, 12:17 AM   #1214
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Great posts, ilovecz.
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Old August 15th, 2009, 11:55 AM   #1215
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Originally Posted by ilovecz View Post
Skyscrapers everywhere? Maybe you are used to London's two-small-skyline style, but this does not work for Shanghai. Shanghai has much more people and needs more office space in the long run. Not just the big international companies, but also local ones. It will resemble more to Tokyo than London or New York.
Indeed. Tokyo is a much better example!
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovecz View Post

I don't see your point of rural areas. I don't think there is any metro system in the world designed for farmers from rural areas. Metro systems extend to suburbs, not rural areas.
But what is the difference?
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovecz View Post
Only in China the suburbs look different. They have highrise condos surrounding local skyscrapers and retail. That's all. Beyound these highrise "suburban" residential areas it is truly rural, meaning you can see farmland, although the housing developments surrounding the farmlands are still dense. One minute you are saying they are ruining rural areas by urbanizing them. The other minute you are saying everything stops at a boundary. You got yourself confused I think. There is absolutely no western style suburb in east China. We simply don't have the land to develop such things. Just get over it. Besides, those low density suburbs are the main contributor to urban sprawl anyways.
Indeed. A difference between South and East Asia compared to North America or Europe is that East Asia has good farmland. Rice paddies mean that even in a completely rural area there is a high density of population.

Which means that a sprawl of big, low-rise houses and large gardens is a total waste of valuable farmlands. Rural countryside in Kanto outside Tokyo or in Jiangsu outside Shanghai is already as densely settled as suburban sprawl of London.

And therefore it should have a good metro system even if it is rural.

Which does not mean that the metro should be poorly designed. How was Tokyo commuter rail designed? Were the stations placed in existing small towns and villages, or in empty spots leaving the old towns as slums? And does Tokyo commuter rail introduce unnecessary incompatible rails or unnecessary interchanges?

What should Shanghai learn from Tokyo?
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Old August 15th, 2009, 11:58 AM   #1216
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Originally Posted by ilovecz View Post
I don't see anything special in your negative comments. They are problems existed anywhere in the world, and if anything, in those aspects, China cities are usually much more efficient than the rest of the world because their authority are more centralized. Skyscrapers everywhere? Maybe you are used to London's two-small-skyline style, but this does not work for Shanghai. Shanghai has much more people and needs more office space in the long run. Not just the big international companies, but also local ones. It will resemble more to Tokyo than London or New York. It needs to divert people into multiple centers instead of having them all commute from the outliers to one city center, which will create huge unsolvable problems of traffic. If you think about it, the borough competition and skyscraper eveywhere layout you mentioned makes urban sprawl much less of an issue in Shanghai. Most people can get what they need in a radias of 3 block area. I can't imagine Shanghai with only one city center where you put everything. This nonsense is just from some people who think they have seen the appeal of lifestyle in western countries and don't necessarily know what they are talking about.

I don't see your point of rural areas. I don't think there is any metro system in the world designed for farmers from rural areas. Metro systems extend to suburbs, not rural areas. Only in China the suburbs look different. They have highrise condos surrounding local skyscrapers and retail. That's all. Beyound these highrise "suburban" residential areas it is truly rural, meaning you can see farmland, although the housing developments surrounding the farmlands are still dense. One minute you are saying they are ruining rural areas by urbanizing them. The other minute you are saying everything stops at a boundary. You got yourself confused I think. There is absolutely no western style suburb in east China. We simply don't have the land to develop such things. Just get over it. Besides, those low density suburbs are the main contributor to urban sprawl anyways. High street retail? Shanghai moves high-end shops into buildings because there are too many people on the street and you have a more pleasant atmosphere shopping inside. In the western world they make every effort to lure people onto the street in order to create a vibrancy feel. In Shanghai it is really about how you can drag people away from street so that people can breathe. There are constantly too many people on the street at least during the day and it is always super crowded.
You make some interesting points ilovecz.

I'm not against skyscrapers where they are generally needed, but I rather suspect there is an element of 'Great-Leap-Forward' in recent developments. Big, straight and ugly 10-lane roads carrying no traffic in Nanhui, instead of sensibly widthed radial roads catering for specific purposes seem to exemplify that mentality. By all means correct me if I'm wrong, and I genuinely hope that I am.

What needs to be decentralised need to be decentralised, I think we are in agreement on that. Taking a wider view however, it is still the case that China as a whole is too centralised in, and increasingly centralised one could argue, towards Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. It's not a case that all functions are concentrated in those cities, but rather only the big ones have the most comprehensive functions and most places are (relatively) underdeveloped. Because of poor transport links you have to live in the right place in order to enjoy the right things (and the hukou policy makes matters worse).

It's high time China properly developed the provincial areas so the mass-immigration into the 3 conurbations can be curbed and even reversed. If the current trend continues Shanghai will only become a giant monstrocity, with an urban radius twice as big as that of London and density heaven knows how many times higher.

And by development I mean regenerating the existing rather than simply building new towns next door. What we have at the moment is old towns losing their status as community centres and having resources sucked away by new ones, breaking community ties and disturbing economic equilibria. Old towns decline and become slightly derelict, whereas the new housing developement end up being second and third homes of the rich. So what you end up with is inefficient use of land and a lot of low-quality brown field sites, and worst of all a divided rich/poor demographic structure.

And this goes back to my arguement regarding the urban/rural divide. Shanghai as a world class city has and will continue to have high value-added and global industries, banking, trans-national companies and the like. These industries need to attract talents from a very wide catchment area, so a comprehensive commuter rail network is absolutely essential. The notion that rural=farmland is an old-fashioned one. Location should no longer single-handedly determine the profession of the people living in any one particular area - people should be able to have a real choice regarding where they want to live, trading between density and distance. You don't all have to crowd inside the city to enjoy its benefits, you can live quite a way out in a low(er)-density satellite town and be able to get into central Shanghai in less than an hour.

The natural growth of Chinese population is minimal and net immigration is almost non-existent. The population is actually projected to fall as the only-child generation become adults a lot of whom choose to have kids late or none at all. The current building-spree doesn't seem to reflect that. Having standard density 6-storey Xincun-style suburbs coupled with social policies geared towards affordable housing (as the case use the be in the good-old days) and discouraging second-home ownership, I believe is a sustainable option. You say we can't have western style suburbs, then what are those things in between Xinzhuang and Xinqiao and in Kangqiao? Those are only a few examples I'm listing. You have your gigantic villas (the scale of which unseen even in the UK) next to old crowded slums. Why can't you have a healthy continuum of housing styles, with some compact terraced or semi-detached housing for example.

Of course the regional and local industries are best decentralised, and they include high-street retail, and I'm using the term in the broader sense to include shopping centres. Retail is actually underdeveloped in Shanghai. Most comparison goods are still best purchased in the traditional centre, from places like Nanjing Road, Huaihai Road, Xujiahui etc. In any wee British town you have pretty much everything from your Poundland/99p store/Iceland to Debenhams/House of Fraser/John Lewis, whereas the same cannot be said for most Chinese towns. What we need is tiered planning, from land use to transport. Granted you can't have everyone crowding in the centre, but you must have the means available for those who need or wish to travel long distance. So you need to have structured land-use planning and public transport network that requires minimal changing.

As for traditional high street vs shopping centres, I'd choose Nanjing Road over Wanda Square any day. Many high streets look crowded and dirty only because lack of systematic planning and chanelisation. You only have to look at the good examples of Qibao, Longhua (the old bit, and admittedly not the bit where the bus termini are) and Jiading to realise how wonderful they are and how much potential they have (especially in the case of the latter two) if the decision makers had their hears in the right place. And there is also an element of snobbery in those who 'don't do high street'.

You talk about the 'appeal of lifestyle in western countries'. I do genuinely feel that the Chinese are not able to truly enjoy life. People feel that everything needs to be man made and artificial in order to be good, or rather the current development stage does not yet allow intimacy with nature, which is understandable. But planners need to take these into consideration and facilitate future nature-orientated developments. Chinese population is not rising. So with good planning, you can have high-quality brown-field sites surrounded by high-quality green-field sites, so anyone can have the best of both worlds.
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Old August 15th, 2009, 12:05 PM   #1217
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The natural growth of Chinese population is minimal and net immigration is almost non-existent. The population is actually projected to fall as the only-child generation become adults a lot of whom choose to have kids late or none at all. The current building-spree doesn't seem to reflect that.
China is far more populous than Japan or Mexico. Yet Shanghai is smaller than Tokyo or Mexico City. Is it expected to remain so?
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Old August 15th, 2009, 07:08 PM   #1218
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China is far more populous than Japan or Mexico. Yet Shanghai is smaller than Tokyo or Mexico City. Is it expected to remain so?
Hmm, Tokyo does seem to have an overwhelmingly large area of continuous urbanisation with a radius of more than 40 km in some places, with greenery few and far between. Tokyo is not skyscraper-galore however - most of the land is houses, and I would actually argue that they would do better having Shanghai-style 6-storey flats, so they can afford more continuous green space. Of course I've no experience of Japanese life and those living in Tokyo might be completely happy the way they are.

As for Shanghai, I really think the central conurbation should not exceed 25 km in radius. The way they are (planning to) completely urbanise some areas is quite unnerving IMHO.
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Old August 16th, 2009, 07:09 PM   #1219
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sweet holy moses NCT, your perspective is disturbingly similar to some of the more 'nuanced' developer-driven criticisms (aka, their need to continuously develop lower density lifestyle areas outside of the built area) of not just shanghai, but other places around the world. you seem to be advocating a romanticized, bucolic suburban lifestyle where harried mortgage payers can work at their jobs in the city, then somehow magically commute to their lower density suburban houses and tend to their gardens. there are many valid complaints with the planning authorities of shanghai. most notably, people see the politically-connected developers as getting their greedy fingers on the spoils. yet you've come out to question the planners themselves. as potentially corrupt and/or incompetent as they are, they're the only ones with a mandate to do the right thing.

i'd also want to point out that a lot of these criticisms have been heard before. a generation ago, self-righteous americans derided the higher density, transit-centric, then-developing cities of east asia. the inhabitants of these places were dehumanized by the crush of humanity and the dearth of personal space. car-centric malls and suburbanization were the way to go. unfortunately, many of these critics conflated the higher living standards of the US with better planning. with minor concessions to aesthetics, you're parroting these old criticisms.

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You don't all have to crowd inside the city to enjoy its benefits, you can live quite a way out in a low(er)-density satellite town and be able to get into central Shanghai in less than an hour.

The natural growth of Chinese population is minimal and net immigration is almost non-existent. The population is actually projected to fall as the only-child generation become adults a lot of whom choose to have kids late or none at all. The current building-spree doesn't seem to reflect that. Having standard density 6-storey Xincun-style suburbs coupled with social policies geared towards affordable housing (as the case use the be in the good-old days) and discouraging second-home ownership, I believe is a sustainable option. You say we can't have western style suburbs, then what are those things in between Xinzhuang and Xinqiao and in Kangqiao? Those are only a few examples I'm listing. You have your gigantic villas (the scale of which unseen even in the UK) next to old crowded slums. Why can't you have a healthy continuum of housing styles, with some compact terraced or semi-detached housing for example.
now this is COMEDY GOLD. just like britain during the industrial revolution, shanghai's growth is driven by job seekers from the rural hinterland. the alpha chinese cities are not alone. ALL the urban areas in china are growing. i'm just surprised you single out the three large cities. visit some former backwater like wenzhou or shantou or even the interior cities. urbanization is not something you can stop, or necessarily even want to stop.

you do realize the gigantic villas are an anomaly, and absolutely should not be emulated in any highly populated city?

why do you cringe at the thought of an even larger urbanized area, yet contradict yourself and advocate a tiered pattern of lower density suburbs? as monotonous as apartments can become, aren't they ultimately much more efficient than the stuff you want? those suburban houses may be loved by their inhabitants and various romantics, but they'll displace a lot more farmland.

what's with the whole suburban thing anyway? many/most of us on this forum have lived in suburbs, yet we appreciate the positive effects of east asian planning. the zoning, public transit, and the mixed use building typology are what make it urban.

then there's your promised land; living in surrey in a suburban house with a useless green patch of grass and a car and highway access and have public transit consist of some crappy commuter rail that's expensive and has long intervals and is inconvenient because its catchment base is far too small and too spread out.
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Old August 16th, 2009, 11:42 PM   #1220
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you do realize the gigantic villas are an anomaly, and absolutely should not be emulated in any highly populated city?
Why? What is anomalous of them?

People who can and will pay to build for 1000, 2000 or 10 000 square metres of living space ought to be found in each highly populated city. And they need to live somewhere. Whether in gigantic villas, or perhaps in in penthouses on top of skyscrapers.

In Bombay, one Mukesh Ambani is building Antilia residence. A tower 173 m high, which is his private home. Well, run for his purposes. It has just 27 floors because of very high ceilings, and the lower floors are partly to be used as business headquarters. The actual private rooms, on the upper 4 floors, are estimated at 3200 square m.

Who is the richest person in China? And what is the biggest newbuilt home in China?

Note that a highly-populated city which does not have gigantic villas is a city whose profits go to absentee owners living elsewhere, so that the city has only slums.
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