While the rest of the world struggles with recession, China explodes with growth. Cities spring up overnight. Or, as the case of Shanghai, are transformed weekly. During the course of this three-hour tour of Shanghai we'll look at the forces shaping China's economic growth and how this is playing out on the ground here. We'll explore the extreme contrasts of the emerging metropolis and have a local scholar frame some of the major issues for us.
Our walk begins at Qufu road in one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city. Strolling through the tangle of old alleyways and dense housing we will pass through vibrant street markets that trade in food and fabric. This area is slated for destruction, and life exists amidst the rubble of half demolished structures. This provides the perfect backdrop to discuss some of the major themes that are emerging from Shanghai's high speed growth: the role of planning versus the unplanned, relocation and urban development, and the stark gaps between old and new.
Our discussion will carry us towards the Hangpu River. Along the river’s edge we will visit a recently refurbished industrial zone known as ‘Old Docks’. While exploring the new boutique restaurants and designer hotels we will discuss the enormous boom in Shanghai’s ‘creative clusters’ and the role they play in city’s ambition to become a key cultural hub of the 21st century.
Crossing the river by ferry, we'll visit Pudong, an area that, until Deng Xiaoping’s famous 'tour of the south’ in 1992 was largely undeveloped. Twenty years later Pudong boasts an eye-popping array of skyscrapers bearing the names of major global financial firms. We will get a close up view of the cluster of super tall towers that dominate the science fiction skyline of Shanghai. In the canyons of Pudong we'll grapple with the seeming contradictions of China's state-managed enterprises and the interrelationship between Communism and free-market enterprise. Although full explanations may elude, our expert will attempt to frame and contextualize the questions.
To conclude we'll visit the tallest building in Shanghai for a wrap-up refreshment in the skyline bar on the 91st floor, with amazing views over the city that provide a meaty backdrop to our ongoing and lively discussion.