I have lived in Boston, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco but I have never seen anything like Beijing. Over the next two weeks, I'm giving a series of talks at Tsinghua, Peking University and the Lincoln Institute, and the CASS. While I was little surprised to see Mao's face on all of the money and to not be able to access my blog, I have been very impressed with everything I see and I see glimpses of a future "green city".
The Olympics can be awesome for cities. Or they can be devastating. Rarely they're both, and most often they are an economic drain caused by over-investment in facilities with limited long-term usability. So when London's plans for a 2012 Summer Olympics stadium that would reduce from 80,000 seats during the games to a more realistically usable 25,000 seats after, Olympics experts, city officials and taxpayers rejoiced. But recent news has turned that rejoice to disgust.