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.

a - composition -Shanghai City Block Demolitions

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.

b - passive protest -Shanghai City Block Demolitions

c - exposed courtyard - slice -Shanghai City Block Demolitions

d - exposed courtyard -Shanghai City Block Demolitions

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 .

e - fangbang electric avenue -Shanghai City Block Demolitions

f - crushed material -Shanghai City Block Demolitions

g - building play -Shanghai City Block Demolitions

In just one generation, entire neighborhoods and families are transformed. Old material is gathered up and sent away, clearing the ground for new material.

h - rovering aging material -Shanghai City Block Demolitions

i - flattened lanscape

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.

j -nightfall in the desert


About danspira

My blog is at: My face in real life appears at a higher resolution, although I do feel pixelated sometimes.

Posted on January 8, 2015, in Architecture, photography and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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