Commercial and Government Cities

James Fallows has an interesting post on the difference between Beijing and Shanghai. He goes on illustrate this with photographs of the two cities and goes on to make a prediction

Rather the question is why the look and feel of Beijing seem so clearly the represent the direction Chinese cities are heading. To oversimplify what this means: although Shanghai probably contains more people than Beijing, it feels smaller. The roads are narrower, they’re more likely to bend or twist, the city unfolds on a smaller scale of neighborhoods and courtyards and little houses. Beijing is bigger and squarer and broader and more grandly imposing.

Looking at this it seems  that Beijing and Shanghai seem to follow the classic dichotomy of Commercial and Goverment driven cities. I can prety much say the same of the differences between Bombay and Delhi, Washington DC and New York, Dubai and Riyadh, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

Commercial cities are by nature compact and twisty and influenced by outsiders. Government cities are planned and spread out. There is no reason why other cities in China are going to follow the same development model as Beijing. Just as Bangalore looks nothing like Delhi.


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