Photo essay: Clearing the ground in Shanghai
This post (#6 of 27), picks up from the previous photo essay, “In China, down by the river” and focuses on on the redevelopment of the inner city in Shanghai.
People who visit Shanghai on a regular basis say that seems like a changed place every few months. New roads, bridges and high rises billow forth and expand the outskirts of this sprawling city. Within the hemmed in lines of neighborhoods like Puxi district and Fangbang Middle Road, urban fabric is being folded, cut and stitched back together through aggressive demolition and rebuilding efforts.
Riding along the streets of Shanghai you can see the tell-tale signs of inner city redevelopment: Cinder blocks enclose city blocks. Slums are systematically sectioned off. Tangles of illegal electrical splice wires are trimmed and snipped off the main power grid. Residents passively protest their impending relocation by airing out their dirty laundry on the only available lines of communication.
Elaborate warrens of dwellings and courtyards are analyzed and scrutinized in a piecemeal fashion, dissected and rationalized into manageable segments of a three-dimensional rectangular grid .
In just one generation, entire neighborhoods and families are transformed. Old material is gathered up and sent away, clearing the ground for new material.
Like scavengers, work crews arrive each day to pick through the crumbled remains. They depart each night back to their own neighborhoods, leaving behind them a crushed gravel zen landscape. They are paving the road towards a different sort of impermanence.
Posted on January 8, 2015, in Architecture, photography and tagged China, city redevelopment, Fangbang, neighborhoods, Puxi, Shanghai, Travel, Urban planning, Urban redevelopment. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.