Here's some food for thought. While you sip on your brewskie and cook up a delicious BBQ meal and get fat off the land like a true American, your neighbors to the east have been hard at work surpassing our progress.
Yes, while America was building strip-malls, invading the middle east and creating track homes that no one could now afford to own, China did a lot. Take a look at this before and after picture that would make a fitness gimmick drop not only their jaw, but 10 pounds in the process.
As you can see, China is the wave of the future and America will bitch and moan about it. Regardless of the fact that the city is sinking like a meter per year because of all the heavy buildings. There's progress there. A fun fact for you, half of the world's construction cranes are in Shanghai.
The funniest thing about all this is that most major Chinese metro centers are about five hundred years old, if not thousands of years old. Where as the average age of an American city is about 150 years.
The point of that is that in China, when shit needs to be improved or public utility put in, it just kind of gets done. In the US you get half a dozen organizations who bitch and moan that some 70 year old building will be destroyed and they kill the project. It's all sorts of egotistical to stop progress over the sake of such a small history compared to other locations in the world. In China it's just a matter of "we want a subway station here and these 300 year old buildings have zero significance at all"
The whole train structure alone is amazing compared to us. America has a very pitiful rail system. with the exception of Chicago I suppose. But then again, I've only heard about it. I have yet to go see it for myself.
I sometimes read urban development sites on line, just to see what the trend of structures and city life could be progressing towards and it never surprises me the amount of whining that happens when people talk about their rail infrastructure and how it feels like it's sorely ignored. But really, can you blame them? Look at China's.
The Shanghai Metro is the urban rapid transit system of China's largest city, Shanghai. The system incorporates both subway and light railway lines. It opened in 1995, making Shanghai the third city in Mainland China, after Beijing and Tianjin, to have a subway. Since then, the Shanghai Metro has become one of the newest and fastest-growing rapid transit systems in the world. Today, there are twelve metro lines (excluding the Shanghai Maglev Train), 268 stations and over 420 km of tracks in operations, making it the longest network in the world. Daily ridership averaged 3.56 million in 2009 and set a record of 6.46 million on July 6, 2010And check out where they're projected to be by 2020
Though I do wonder if that's totally going to happen when all the money they've been investing in the US goes to shit and we can't pay them back. Not that we could right now anyway.
If you think about it, China could be building car free cities with amazing public transportation infrastructure, but instead they are building roads and making cars because they want to be like America. Ha, that's pretty sad when you think about it.
China already has the second longest limited access freeway system and to think that in 1987 they didn't have a single kilometer of expressway. So you can see where I'm coming from when I say they were a bit behind the urban economic development curve, but they're catching up fast.
In looking at that map again, it does look like China is the world's Texas. China: The World's Texas
I wonder what an imported Budweiser cost in yuan. Probably around five bucks.. and I sort of doubt it's imported. I mean, Annheuser-busch owns a third of Tsingtao.
I would like to go there some time. I hear Shanghai's airport is amazing. It's on an island and you take this bridge into the city and you can't see anything due to the fog being so thick. But when you get to about a half a mile away, a city pops out of nowhere that stretches to both ends of the horizon in front of you. It sounds wicked.
You probably wonder why I'm hung up on China right now. It's not the nominal adherence to communism. I think it's clearly one of the places the future is going to happen in. You've seen Blade Runner. There's a lot of truth in that SciFi film alone in how the world is going.
Not to mention that it seems like China actually follows through with public works projects rather than talk about them for 20 years. How long has the "freedom tower" been worked on and it still looks like it's only been a month.
I assume that in the 10's we'll see a lot of cool media where it's assumed that China will control the west financially in the near future, like how in the 80's we assumed Japan was on its way to owning the world before they settled with just making technology a few years into the future for the world.
China's also shooting ahead of the US. While we question evolution and global climate change, they just don't give a fuck about letting the religious dark ages hold them back. Though I suppose as the environmentalist that I am, I really shouldn't be praising China for their building. I mean, let's not even look at their environmental record.
I had a friend come back from a couple week stay there who kept coughing three weeks later because of the smog, and she's not even a smoker. If anything, China is the prime driver of climate change for most of the 21st century and it's not looking like they give a fuck. Then again, industrialization isn't pretty and during our own industrial revolution we did massive amounts of polluting ourselves on an epic scale. Only caring about the environment is more of a new thing.
The only thing really holding China back now in this role as America of the 21st century is that the US didn't have to deal with a massive population, a shortage of resources, mass desertification and livability issues like China is currently dealing with.
Don't get me wrong, this is a case of the grass is always greener. China does have plenty of issues. Instead of suburb sprawl and a lack of rail investment, they have major groundwater pollution and massive overcrowding. Not to mention that whole destruction of 400+ year old neighborhoods.
Hey, maybe 20 years from now it will all change. Maybe then Chinese strip-malls will be booming.