Rebuilding Shanghai

Shanghai's inexorable rise to supercity

Rebuilding Shanghai Shanghai appears to be an amazing achievement of rapid, planned development - but at what price? We take a look at both the winners and the losers in this city.
In 1993, the East bank of the Pudong river was little more than a giant paddy field. Today it’s full of sprawling foreign managed factories and skyscrapers. The scale of construction has been immense - 2 years ago it was said that Shanghai had one quarter of the world’s construction cranes. This rapid rejuvenation is attracting Chinese from all over the Nation: “The Shanghainese live a very busy life, but they think that Shanghai is the best Place to live in the world,” comments Mary Gu, one of Shanghai’s new arrivals. However, in the rush to build, much of Old Shanghai is being flattened. Anxious residents flock to see the urban planning centre model, hoping to find their own few millimetres still intact. Madam Chen is one of those who has already been displaced. She is finding it hard to survive without the rent from her house: “They told us if they tore down 4 houses, they would give me 4 rooms back. Now my life is hard and difficult. I don’t care how much better Shanghai becomes.” Shanghai may be able to impress international investors, but the benefits offered by the government may take some time to filter down to the losers in their game plan.

Includes archival footage of Shanghai in the 1930s.

Produced by ABC Australia

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