This densely packed book presents a broad range of research on the remarkable growth of the greater Shanghai metropolitan area in recent decades. With more than 300,000 people moving to Shanghai each year, the city government is busy building satellite towns, some of which are themed on ersatz visions of foreign places. So today, you can live in or visit Holland Village or Thames Town. Other new towns, such as Qingpu and Jiading, employ more sophisticated planning concepts and have welcomed projects by cutting-edge Chinese and foreign architects. Photo essays by Richard Rowland and and Chen Taiming supplement texts by writers and designers from Holland, China, Hong Kong, and Canada. Li Xiangning, who teaches at Tongji Univeristy in Shanghai and was a fellow at the MAK Center in Los Angeles in 2009, compares themed spaces in Shanghai and LA, reminding us that the Getty Villa, Venice Beach, and LA’s Chinatown may not be so different from Thames Town in Shanghai. Like its subject, this book sprawls but fascinates.
Shanghai New Towns: Searching for Community and Identity in a Sprawling Metropolis
Edited by Harry den Hartog. 010 Publishers: 2010, 416 pages, $44.