Photos: more fantastic photos of today’s Shanghai here.
The BBC has produced a report on the growth of Shanghai over the last 15 years. The city expanded 6 times its 1990 area to accommodate todays 21.5m people, up from 13.5m. I was in Shanghai in 1990 and found even then a continuous rush hour very challenging. The city has also seen an explosion in car ownership, with over 1 million car owners in 2006, and private car ownership has doubled in two years.
Despite its size, Shanghai is still much more densely populated than Western cities, with four times more people per square kilometre than New York. Shanghai’s planners want to limit population growth in the centre by building satellite towns in the outskirts. Under Shanghai’s “One City – Nine Towns” plan, Shanghai is planning nine new cities which will eventually house 500,000 people each. Thamestown, which opened in October 2006, has themed pubs and Tudor-looking architecture concealing high-rise blocks.
Shanghai has made it expensive to own a car in the city. The city sets a strict limit on the number of licenses it will issue for private car ownership – currently around 80,000 per year – and then auctions them off. With the high demand for cars, the current cost of getting a car license in Shanghai is over 40,000 RMB ($5,500; £2,750). However, a significant factor in Shanghai is the use of cars – and minivans – by private businesses. Over half of all cars in Shanghai are owned by companies – who are less sensitive to financial constraints.
Despite the spread of car ownership, two-thirds of private journeys in Shanghai are by two-wheeled vehicles such as bicycles and scooters. Huge investment into Shanghai’s metro system could mean it’ll be more extensive than even Londons underground system, currently the largest in the world.
Read more of this excellent article here.
Some ideas for Mr Livingston to mull over I presume.