Suburbs in China

As part of building the Chinese Dream, vast blocks of towers are being erected as the Chinese method of building suburbs, as reported by Bloomberg; and the difference between housing planning driven by Communism, as that driven by Capitalism could not be seen more dramatically, as noted by The New York Review of Books.

An excerpt from Bloomberg.

Take away the haze of air pollution and Waterfront Corso Mansions near Tianjin might seem like an urban idyll for China’s growing population of city dwellers.

Inside a gated compound, residential towers and houses overlook a lake and manicured gardens. What’s missing from the neighborhood are shops and amenities, turning the block and hundreds like it in the suburb of Meijiang into a giant dormitory for Tianjin, 40 minutes away by car.

“There’s no hospital nearby, no hair salon, hardly any restaurants,” said Wang Bo, 62, who lives with his daughter’s family in the complex and ferries his wife to work each day. “I have to drive 20 minutes just to buy vegetables.”

This is one of China’s superblocks, developments that are storing up a social, energy and environmental crisis by forcing millions of new urban middle-class residents to drive everywhere. As China’s ruling Communist Party convenes this week to debate an economic blueprint for the future, the Soviet-inspired urban plan pits municipal governments that rely on the land sales for a fifth of their revenue against Premier Li Keqiang, who is trying to balance urbanization with efforts to clean up the environment.

What the U.S. did in the 1950s with 160 million people, China is doing now with more than a billion — moving to suburbia. Unlike the U.S. postwar sprawl, which mixed houses with schools, supermarkets and diners, the new Chinese commuters have to drive back to the city, or even across town for basic services, boosting energy consumption and emissions that have made the nation’s cities some of the most polluted in the world.

An excerpt from the New York Review of Books.

Last November, China’s newly installed leader, Xi Jinping, asked his fellow Chinese to help realize a “Chinese dream” of national rejuvenation….

Xi’s definition of China’s dream has caused much discussion. While the slogan seems to directly mimic the term “American dream,” it is almost the antithesis of that dream of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—personal goals that in Xi’s vision are replaced by a collective, national pursuit.

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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