The "Instant Cities" of Industrial China

This year China will add 17 million people to its urban population. To house them, places like Guangzhou and Shanghai are constructing 'instant cities.' Christoph Gielen traveled through these developments, documenting the expansion.

"Walt Whitman imagined a future in which the global community was "welded" together, and Mao Zedong promised to build a "forest of chimneys" in Beijing. Industry has long been yoked to visions of utopia, but for decades now, we've also been quantifying the toxic emissions, rising temperatures and habitat fragmentation associated with unchecked growth."

In these photos, we can see both the "grandeur and the fear" associated with this kind of over development.

Gielen consulted maps, rode subways to their ends and wandered by foot for hours, searching for sites that he could transform into images that would both marvel at and interrogate urban infrastructure. He also hoped, in vain, to find the edge of the metropolis.

Full Story: China's Instant Cities


Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month

Stay thirsty, urbanists

These sturdy water bottles are eco-friendly and perfect for urbanists on the go.
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.