Shanghai: A Modern-Day 1930s New York

With a rapidly growing urban core and a slew of skyscrapers, Shanghai today is what New York was to the world in the 1930s, according to this piece.
January 27, 2010, 10am PST | Nate Berg
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"[I]n recent years, the pace of change in Shanghai has accelerated at such a blistering rate-400 skyscrapers rising in the historic core alone since 1990-that holding on to a coherent impression of the contemporary city is almost impossible. The relentless escalation seems daunting, even a little scary. A visit to "China Prophecy: Shanghai," now at the Skyscraper Museum through April, is a handy way to get a better grip on the changes under way in this clamoring, glamorous city.

Built around the plausible conceit that Shanghai today is experiencing the explosive urban creativity and convulsive growth last seen during the skyscraper age of New York in the '30s, the show sets out to 'juxtapose a retrospective of American visions of the skyscraper city of the future from the early 20th century with an exploration of Chinese cities today, pursuing the parallel conditions of rapid modernization and urbanization."

Much of the growth in the Chinese city since 1990 has been at the hands of American architects.

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Published on Tuesday, January 26, 2010 in The Wall Street Journal
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