A Building Boom with a Human Cost

This piece from <em>Next American City</em> looks at the human toll major building projects are taking on construction workers in China, Dubai and other rapidly developing places.
March 13, 2009, 9am PDT | Nate Berg
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"We are in the midst of a breathtaking round of mega-project construction, and it is happening mainly in Asia and the Middle East. China and the United Arab Emirates are leading the movement, and neither is known for being labor friendly, to put it mildly."

"Working conditions for migrants in Dubai are appalling. The government reported 39 people dead from workplace accidents in 2005 alone, which is likely to be a conservative estimate. This maltreatment caused a riot by 2,500 fed up laborers working on the Burj Dubai, which temporarily halted construction in 2006. That at least forced the government to acknowledge the problem, which so far has only amounted to lip service."

"As with Dubai, the construction booms in magnet cities like Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou flourish on migrant labor, but from China's own rural interior instead of foreign countries. There are 150 million rural laborers living in cities. The cities count on them to toil cheaply and without complaint."

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Published on Thursday, March 12, 2009 in Next American City
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