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Old August 17th, 2009, 12:41 AM   #1221
particlez
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^i'm talking about an ideal. i personally am not a fan of the windfall capital gains from the stock and real estate markets, but then others can worship at that altar.

of course the rich and powerful can and will find ways to express their position. a smattering of villas aren't a problem. but when the middle class and below begins to emulate the profligacy of the rich (e.g. the suburbs of north america), the dysfunctional (both in terms of financial and ecological sustainability) car-dependent sprawl takes over.
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Old August 17th, 2009, 03:49 AM   #1222
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Agreed. At a time when Americans begin to rethink about their city planning and aspire density and walkability, it proves finally we have done something right in China: maintaining high density in every neighborhood. There are some trends to follow the American model but luckily those do not dominate. I hope they will never be.

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^i'm talking about an ideal. i personally am not a fan of the windfall capital gains from the stock and real estate markets, but then others can worship at that altar.

of course the rich and powerful can and will find ways to express their position. a smattering of villas aren't a problem. but when the middle class and below begins to emulate the profligacy of the rich (e.g. the suburbs of north america), the dysfunctional (both in terms of financial and ecological sustainability) car-dependent sprawl takes over.
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Old August 17th, 2009, 05:45 AM   #1223
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Most outlaying "rural" areas outside Shanghai urban cores are NOT slums! They are in fact small cities with their independent economies and comparable living standards. Not extending the metro lines into them are acutally helping maintaining their relative independence from the urban core and preventing them being sucked into the city sprawl.

Most residents in Songjiang, Anting, or Chuansha are not even engaged in farming or anything agriculture-related.
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Old August 17th, 2009, 06:24 AM   #1224
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Not extending the urban rail system will not stop the massive inflow of migrants, meaning the existing urban area would be unbearably crowded. Shanghai would become like Lagos, a complete mess.

A hundred years ago, no one in London opposed extending the Underground in order to preserve the independence of Wembley or Hounslow or Tottenham.
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Old August 17th, 2009, 01:29 PM   #1225
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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.



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.
You seem to assume that when I say suburbs I mean houses. This is NOT so. I have not for one minute suggested that western-style suburbs are suitable for Shanghai.

What I'm concerned is the fact that density seems to increase as you go outwards from the traditional Xincun suburbs towards to new housing developments further afield, where even 6-storey Xincun-style buildings are a luxuary. It would be much better if outer housing developments were restricted to 6 storeys and ample green space were left.

As to the gigantic villas - considering Shanghai's demography, there are far too many of them for them to be considered an anomoly. You have acres and acres of these and then a few blocks away acres and acres of tower block flats. Have a better mix, have something in the middle, instead of just having the extremes.

You talk about some 'crappy commuter rail', then I challenge you to find something half as good for places like Taicang, Jiashan, or even areas within the boundary like Fengjing and Jinshan - I'll even allow you to count plans for 2020. What are the chances of the Railway Authority operating a clock-face timetable on the Jinshan and Taicang lines with integrated ticketing with Shanghai Metro? None whatsoever.

You are comparing present day Shanghai to industrial-revolution Britain - a fair comparison. Then please allow me to extend these comparisons:

- They built their extensive railway network during the industrial revolution - we built are motorways first. It is true that their commuter railways are not working as well as they potentiall could, at least compared to the Underground. This is where I'll criticise Britain's over-buraucratic planning system - in essence that's nothing minor adjustments to junctions or 4-tracking or passing loops in the odd places wouldn't help. Patronage on their commuter rail IS high. And for goodness' sake we are talking about an 100-year-old system that's still operating semi-satisfactorily. Give me some good 100-year-old stuff in Shanghai. Now, we are starting a fresh, and we've got more guts, we can do better! As far as policies go they've done as much as they possibly can - NR and TfL trains sharing tracks (Bakerloo and Overground, District and Overground, working together introducing integrated ticketing (namely Oyster) - this is not going to happen for another 50 years between Shanghai Metro and the Railway Authority. Is there friction between TfL and NR? There inevitably is, but at the end they still get things done.

- British cities during the industrial revolution were hell-holes. Then during the 50s they actually begun to 'deurbanise' London, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Leeds etc etc. They built their new towns and let the old towns and suburbs grew, and ensured a railway network in which most railway stations are accessible from most houses. Now Shanghai is at the urbanising stage. The difference is that our buildings are built to last, so that deurbanisation will be much more awkward - are you going to pull down essentially sound buildings that are just a bit too close together? We've seen British cities doing this detour, do we really want to just follow their exact footsteps?
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Old August 17th, 2009, 01:37 PM   #1226
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Most outlaying "rural" areas outside Shanghai urban cores are NOT slums! They are in fact small cities with their independent economies and comparable living standards. Not extending the metro lines into them are acutally helping maintaining their relative independence from the urban core and preventing them being sucked into the city sprawl.

Most residents in Songjiang, Anting, or Chuansha are not even engaged in farming or anything agriculture-related.
You are quite right in some regards, and bus routes like ShenChuan, ShangChuan, XuChuan, LianFeng, LianWei, LianJin, ShangShi, BeiAn, BeiJia, HuJia, XinJia, HuTang ... are NOT coping - bus jams and bus wars galore - they are not an efficient form. They have absolotely done the right thing in building Metro lines for some of these towns, but the stations are not in the best of locations and there are not enough lines for all the towns. Economic activities in a place like Shanghai WILL be interlinked, and assuming they are 'independent' and playing down the importance of rapid rail transit is plain daft.

And it's only the big towns you've listed. When are the old houses (essentially slums) in Gaoqiao, Yanghang, Luodian, Sijing, Fengcheng, Liuzao, Laogang etc going to be pulled down and residents rehoused? Not in the foreseeable future at least.
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Old August 17th, 2009, 04:50 PM   #1227
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As to the gigantic villas - considering Shanghai's demography, there are far too many of them for them to be considered an anomoly.
I believe construction of villas/detached single family houses is banned within Shanghai municipality now. Regency Garden in Pudong was the last large development of villas I think.
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Old August 17th, 2009, 05:11 PM   #1228
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You are quite right in some regards, and bus routes like ShenChuan, ShangChuan, XuChuan, LianFeng, LianWei, LianJin, ShangShi, BeiAn, BeiJia, HuJia, XinJia, HuTang ... are NOT coping - bus jams and bus wars galore - they are not an efficient form. They have absolotely done the right thing in building Metro lines for some of these towns, but the stations are not in the best of locations and there are not enough lines for all the towns. Economic activities in a place like Shanghai WILL be interlinked, and assuming they are 'independent' and playing down the importance of rapid rail transit is plain daft.

And it's only the big towns you've listed. When are the old houses (essentially slums) in Gaoqiao, Yanghang, Luodian, Sijing, Fengcheng, Liuzao, Laogang etc going to be pulled down and residents rehoused? Not in the foreseeable future at least.
These old houses are mostly not slums. They look shabby but they have complete plumbing, electricity, telephone and internet service. A metro link will only court real estate crocodiles and destroy their socially and economically independent communities.

For example, Gaoqiao town provide only a very tiny source of ridership for Metro Line 6. Most commuters come from west of Jufeng Rd St. Most native residents rarely use the metro service.

Last edited by leo_sh; August 17th, 2009 at 05:21 PM.
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Old August 17th, 2009, 05:36 PM   #1229
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These old houses are mostly not slums. They look shabby but they have complete plumbing, electricity, telephone and internet service. A metro link will only court real estate crocodiles and destroy their socially and economically independent communities.
There is no such thing as social and economic independent. You are limiting people's choice - in short what you are putting forward is a protectionist argument.

Are those houses spaced apart adequately? No
Is there adquate greenery? No
Can trucks or fire engines get to the doors? No

Do these people aspire to better housing? Yes
Do they want equal access to urban jobs and facilities? Yes
Do they heavily rely on links with central Shanghai? Yes
Are the current links good enough? No.

Having restricted choice and rich people saying to the poor 'you are doing quite well you know' is the primary cause of the lack of social mobility in China.

EDIT: Isn't it wonderful people are saying it's right we should have people either migrating into cities or being cut off from the rest of the population? Letting people enjoy the benefits of urban development while staying put in their rural homes is spoiling the people we can't have that!

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For example, Gaoqiao town provide only a very tiny source of ridership for Metro Line 6. Most commuters come from west of Jufeng Rd St. Most native residents rarely use the metro service.
That's because they use the 81!! Much cheaper and sometimes quicker (¥2 to Lujiazui and ¥3 to People's Square with just one change) than the Line 6 only because some muppet designed it!

Last edited by NCT; August 17th, 2009 at 05:46 PM. Reason: adding a paragragh
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Old August 17th, 2009, 06:39 PM   #1230
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There is no such thing as social and economic independent. You are limiting people's choice - in short what you are putting forward is a protectionist argument.

Are those houses spaced apart adequately? No
Is there adquate greenery? No
Can trucks or fire engines get to the doors? No

Do these people aspire to better housing? Yes
Do they want equal access to urban jobs and facilities? Yes
Do they heavily rely on links with central Shanghai? Yes
Are the current links good enough? No.

Having restricted choice and rich people saying to the poor 'you are doing quite well you know' is the primary cause of the lack of social mobility in China.

EDIT: Isn't it wonderful people are saying it's right we should have people either migrating into cities or being cut off from the rest of the population? Letting people enjoy the benefits of urban development while staying put in their rural homes is spoiling the people we can't have that!



That's because they use the 81!! Much cheaper and sometimes quicker (¥2 to Lujiazui and ¥3 to People's Square with just one change) than the Line 6 only because some muppet designed it!
Most of your arguments against these settlements can be said about the most downtown Shanghai residential areas, even very modern and upscale ones.Are central Shanghai houses spaced apart adequately? No. Is there adquate greenery? No. Can trucks or fire engines get to the doors? No.

The fact against your argument is that most of these residents don't rely on the links with central Shanghai. They often have more and better-paid jobs around them. Their settlements are NOT some miserable backwater awaiting the tearshedding of outsiders.

Most of these residents also cherish their roomy private houses, with private yards and vegetable plots, and detest the suffocating pigeon cages of the downtowners.

The fact that Gaoqiao residents avoid Line 6 has nothing to do with its design. The fact is that Gaoqiao area offers some best job opportunities in all of Shanghai! Supermarket chains, convenience stores, and modern service facilities offer an environment you can only dream in the Western suburbia. They don't need to go to the downtown!
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Old August 17th, 2009, 06:46 PM   #1231
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Are those houses spaced apart adequately? No
Is there adquate greenery? No
The houses were built back when it was countryside, and they had relatively much land available. They COULD have chosen to space the houses back then, and have greenery around them. They chose not to. They chose for reasons - mostly the reason was that the land was too valuable to waste it for greenery or spacing the houses.

The population is increasing in Shanghai, but land is not. If they could not afford the spacing and greenery back then, they certainly cannot afford it now!
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Old August 17th, 2009, 06:52 PM   #1232
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Most of your arguments against these settlements can be said about the most downtown Shanghai residential areas, even very modern and upscale ones.Are central Shanghai houses spaced apart adequately? No. Is there adquate greenery? No. Can trucks or fire engines get to the doors? No.
The answers to those questions regarding most housing deevelopments post-2000 are actually YES. Most traditional estates (Caoyang, Yichuan, Luoyang etc) don't score too badly either. My experience of house moving (ourselves and relatives) has always been one of the lorry being parked right next to the entrance of the block. At least you can get a semi-good view (on a good day) from one of the flats, but all you can see from one of those old houses is what the people living in the opposite house are up to.

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The fact against your argument is that most of these residents don't rely on the links with central Shanghai. They often have more and better-paid jobs around them. Their settlements are NOT some miserable backwater awaiting the tearshedding of outsiders.

Most of these residents also cherish their roomy private houses, with private yards and vegetable plots, and detest the suffocating pigeon cages of the downtowners.

The fact that Gaoqiao residents avoid Line 6 has nothing to do with its design. The fact is that Gaoqiao area offers some best job opportunities in all of Shanghai! Supermarket chains, convenience stores, and modern service facilities offer an environment you can only dream in the Western suburbia. They don't need to go to the downtown!
You are making assumptions. Strange how you are NOT making such assumptions regarding people living in the naighbouring estates. Strangely it's alright for those people in TongGang Xincun to want more than supermarket chains and convenience stores, and a genuine choice as to what profession they want to persue according to their interests and preferences. But no we must deny the opportunities to those living in the old towns. There is a word for it, called stereotyping.
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Old August 17th, 2009, 06:59 PM   #1233
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The houses were built back when it was countryside, and they had relatively much land available. They COULD have chosen to space the houses back then, and have greenery around them. They chose not to. They chose for reasons - mostly the reason was that the land was too valuable to waste it for greenery or spacing the houses.

The population is increasing in Shanghai, but land is not. If they could not afford the spacing and greenery back then, they certainly cannot afford it now!
I think you are missing the point here. The issue is not there is no ample space or greenry between houses, but nothing at all. A car would struggle to fit in the paths.

You don't get much with 90's estates either but at least there's an appropriately widthed path able to carry a small truck, certainly ambulences and fire-engines, and greenery is just about OK. Argually post-2000 developments score much better, with internal 2-lane roads with proper footpaths too, and lovely greenery (albeit with too much in the way of man-made patterns and stone slabs).

When people buy house these days the most important questions they ask include 'is there a good amount of space between buildings?' and 'is there ample greenery?'. Why do you think modern developments are designed like and called 'Gardens'? Because people aspire to such things, and these needs can essentially be met.
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Old August 17th, 2009, 09:04 PM   #1234
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The answers to those questions regarding most housing deevelopments post-2000 are actually YES. Most traditional estates (Caoyang, Yichuan, Luoyang etc) don't score too badly either. My experience of house moving (ourselves and relatives) has always been one of the lorry being parked right next to the entrance of the block. At least you can get a semi-good view (on a good day) from one of the flats, but all you can see from one of those old houses is what the people living in the opposite house are up to.



You are making assumptions. Strange how you are NOT making such assumptions regarding people living in the naighbouring estates. Strangely it's alright for those people in TongGang Xincun to want more than supermarket chains and convenience stores, and a genuine choice as to what profession they want to persue according to their interests and preferences. But no we must deny the opportunities to those living in the old towns. There is a word for it, called stereotyping.
There's one word for you, it's called condescending!

The Municipality of Shanghai is not a small piece of land that can be simply connected through a railway network. It is almost as large as Greater London plus Essex plus Kent, or a third of the state of New Jersey. To talk about mobility by public transport within the whole Shanghai is moot. The guarantee of a job in today's Shanghai is your qualification and your social network. It has little to do with your idiosyncratic preferences or choices! To live at one end of Shanghai while working at the other is ridiculous, because it can often be more than one hundred kms and takes two hours even by express rail!

Last edited by leo_sh; August 17th, 2009 at 09:09 PM.
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Old August 17th, 2009, 09:11 PM   #1235
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There's one word for you, it's called condescending!

The Municipality of Shanghai is not a small piece of land that can be simply connected through a railway network. It is almost as large as Greater London plus Essex plus Kent, or a third of the state of New Jersey. To talk about mobility by public transport within the whole Shanghai is moot. The guarantee of a job in today's Shanghai is your qualification and your social network. It has little to do with your idiosyncratic preferences or choices! To live at one end of Shanghai while living at the other is a ridiculous idea, because it can often be more than one hundred kms and takes two hours even by express rail!
Greater London plus Essex plus Kent plus Surrey plus Hertfordshire IS very well connected through a railway network. Mobility by public transport within this area is a reality, NOT a far-feteched idiosyncratic idea!
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Old August 17th, 2009, 10:53 PM   #1236
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I think you are missing the point here. The issue is not there is no ample space or greenry between houses, but nothing at all. A car would struggle to fit in the paths.
Precisely. It is a pedestrian area, isnīt it?
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Old August 17th, 2009, 11:26 PM   #1237
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is NCT a realtor and/or advocate of the development community? it's as if NCT is advancing the financial gains of the developers, under the pretext of preferring certain types of 'aesthetics', and disingenuously dismissing the hidden, deferred, and externalized costs of these developments; just what does he/she want?

even with huge resources, efficient public transit throughout the entire shanghai region ISN'T plausible. it's like saying shanghai can have the footprint of the entire five-county los angeles area, but with urbanism and rapid transit. why bother paving over greenfield agricultural land? lifestyle? a need to look like other places? a need to be 'different' from the supposedly monotonous high density built area? in most places, it's the developers and their followers who advocate these ideas. to them, it makes a lot more sense to fracture municipalities and build all sorts of suburban areas, all via the guise of delivering what people want, bringing idiot mortgage payers closer to nature, and getting away from the supposed evils of the city. if nct has studied development elsewhere, and has knowledge of the myriad pitfalls of unnecessary expansion of the built area, he/she would know better.
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Old August 18th, 2009, 12:09 AM   #1238
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Greater London plus Essex plus Kent plus Surrey plus Hertfordshire IS very well connected through a railway network. Mobility by public transport within this area is a reality, NOT a far-feteched idiosyncratic idea!
But a large part of the population in Greater London plus Essex plus Kent plus Surrey plus Hertfordshire relies on personal automobiles and highway systems, not rail and bus alone!
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Old August 18th, 2009, 12:36 AM   #1239
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is NCT a realtor and/or advocate of the development community? it's as if NCT is advancing the financial gains of the developers, under the pretext of preferring certain types of 'aesthetics', and disingenuously dismissing the hidden, deferred, and externalized costs of these developments; just what does he/she want?

even with huge resources, efficient public transit throughout the entire shanghai region ISN'T plausible. it's like saying shanghai can have the footprint of the entire five-county los angeles area, but with urbanism and rapid transit. why bother paving over greenfield agricultural land? lifestyle? a need to look like other places? a need to be 'different' from the supposedly monotonous high density built area? in most places, it's the developers and their followers who advocate these ideas. to them, it makes a lot more sense to fracture municipalities and build all sorts of suburban areas, all via the guise of delivering what people want, bringing idiot mortgage payers closer to nature, and getting away from the supposed evils of the city. if nct has studied development elsewhere, and has knowledge of the myriad pitfalls of unnecessary expansion of the built area, he/she would know better.
Call me stupid if you want to, but exactly WHAT hidden costs are there? The same number of houses/flats are built, just a tiny wee bit further apart from each other, with a few wider green belts between towns. As far as developers are concerned aren't they still building on a piece of land about the same size as they otherwise would anyway? In fact if you break up the urban areas you can actually avoid monopoly over land by the big giants and have some more healthy competition between developers.

Isn't it up to social policies drawn by the government to make sure that developers don't end up having their pockets loaded, but ordinary citizens like you and me have affordable housing?

Now, you say that efficient public transport throughout entire Shanghai isn't plausible, yet we have an explosion of 8-lane roads that seem to go from nowhere to nowhere and an explosion of car registration plates - now THAT'S efficient, low in carbon footprint is it?

You continue mis-representing my view as wanting to pave over more agricultural land. If you need things spelt out for you bit by bit - imagine cutting some land from 'outside' to be put within the urban area. Or if you like, leaving the settlements where they are, instead of forcing people to migrate and overcrowd the city, just allow them to travel - much less hassle.

You tell me you don't consider space and greenery when you buy properties. You tell me we don't need more green fields for our children to play on. You tell me we can't have managed forests that provide logwood and leisure.

You brag on about mortgage payers, who in Shanghai isn't? When people fight for housing in a limited urban area they are better off are they?

End the speculation of what my hidden agenda might be, and start talking about FACTS!
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Old August 18th, 2009, 12:50 AM   #1240
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But a large part of the population in Greater London plus Essex plus Kent plus Surrey plus Hertfordshire relies on personal automobiles and highway systems, not rail and bus alone!
They have more railway lines than motorway/major artery roads, and we have the complete and utter opposite.

Shanghai as a future global centre will have more jobs than the housing it can accommodate within a small urban radius - it has no choice but to reach out. Yes businesses don't all have to crowd in the centre, they can locate in satellite towns. These businesses will need to communicate at all levels, physically and virtually.

Accountants, consultants, inspectors will need to travel around an awful lot between many different locations. How will they travel most efficiently? By mass public transit. There will be more jobs of a part-time nature, and provisions MUST be made for those who travel in on odd days but mostly work from home.

If you think most people can choose to work locally then you live in cloud cuckoo land. People will need to travel and the train (whatever the operator, city or national) offers the best choice.

How is it that some people using cars to commute makes it insignificant that trains are in operation?

How do you explain that the demand is not there when you have bus wars and bus jams on and between the many high-frequency super-distance bus routes that go out to towns like Chuansha, Songjiang, Jiading and Nanhui? And do the passengers suddenly appear from the bus station? A lot of them come from smaller towns and villages further afield, and many of them have to suffer journeys of up to 3 hours - yet you suggest that an 2-hour train-journey is so unbarable!

The level of development of a place is determined by how much choice the people have.
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