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The 110th issue of Price Tags: Shanghai

December 8, 2011

Price Tags is back.  The old Price Tags, that is – a kind of digital magazine on urbanism.

I used to produce them in pdf format before this blog, beginning in 2003.  (There’s an archive of all of them here.  Thank you, Sightline Institute, for hosting.)  The last one – No. 109 – was sent out on April, 10, 2010 to a list of about a thousand subscribers, with the most recent issues held on my website at .

I’ve been meaning to do others, at a less frequent pace, but … well, this blog must be fed, and it’s just taken over.  However, the pdf format works well to explore a city or theme in long form, typically about 40 pages, with an emphasis on images and just a little print.

See for yourself – here’s Issue 110, based on a study tour to Shanghai last May.



More to come?  Maybe.  I’ve promised Scot Bathgate an issue on Auckland, and if the response is positive to the Shanghai issue, I just might get motivated enough.


7 Comments leave one →
  1. December 8, 2011 2:14 am

    A couple of note:

    * notice how the Bund (the main boulevard) is parallel to the shore, with no building separating it of the water: it is a pattern we find in lot of other place, like Bordeaux, France (which has recently under-come a huge makeover), or in a least measure Montreal…in each time it make for a vibrant waterfront (what we unfortunately haven’t in Vancouver)

    * The lighted viaduct: we have that also in Richmond(OK smaler scale) and yes it makes lot of good to the structure. (I have also a post “a viaduct in Paris” showing good thing can happen on the top of a viaduct)

  2. rico permalink
    December 8, 2011 4:59 pm

    Nice to read more about Shanghai and its urban successes and failures.

    Voony, overall I like Vancouvers use of waterfront (at least False creek) nicer than Montreals where a lot of the ‘boulevard’ is quite seprated from the water. Although I am jealous and wish we had an area with the energy of vieux Montreal.

  3. Tessa permalink
    December 8, 2011 10:20 pm

    Very interesting, and nice to welcome back the old friend. I notice a parallel in some ways between the lilong demolition and what was planned in Strathcona; yes, Strathcona may not have been pleasant to live in then, but I much appreciate the decision to save the buildings and renovate them over demolition and starting anew with towers in the park, and I think that was a far better decision for residents. It’s a mistake cities around the world have made over and over again, and it’s too bad it keeps getting repeated.

  4. Mike A permalink
    December 9, 2011 12:41 am

    Thank you for the stimulating observations.

  5. December 20, 2011 8:18 am

    When I saw the photo “At the Urban Planning Exhibition Centre” of the “scale model of central Shanghai”, I thought I was seeing a photo of a floor full of chicks at Abbotsford Chicken farm I designed nearly sixty years ago.

    Let me answer the question“, is Shanghai the city of the 21st century? NO!

    Add my considered professional response to the emphatic statement, “It’s in the running”! To which I add my exclamatory my response . . . HELL NOT. Nowhere close! You’ve seen one you’ve seem ‘em all!

    I haven’t visited Shanghai or the Far East, as Euro-centric terminology calls it.

    My peripatetic days are over. All my travels have been Euro-North-Latin American, by conscious choice. But of what I have seen, the trend of preferred western scum-ugly semiotics is similar to what your very interesting Shanghai piece describes.

    London-Soho contrasting the laughable Gurkin: Paris Montmartre contrasting the, now dis-owned, Montparnasse tower: Mexico City Centro historico contrasting the globular, Edifice Calakmol. Santa Fe DF and finally Buenos Aires that had the good sense to preserve and enhance Puerto Madero and San Telmo. From what you describe and illustrate any urban qualities from Shanghai’s past show a diminishing return of, quote, “overwrought towers and over scaled avenues.

    As for future trends we must be patient: cities of century twenty-one are still in their infancies, Shanghai no less, belabouring the urban semiotics-scale-spatial-deportment, of the last century . . .

    Chinese desire to appropriate the historic fashions of the West .” You got that right!

    Is separating the city into left bank-right bank of the Huangpu a vestige of old Euro scheming? Is that how the locals see it?

    Surely “lilong” with all it’s hazard, stink and privation must be better than a faux version of Corb’s phuccin’ thingies in the park? The new stuff looks pretty god from here.

    The Bund still has vestiges of the colonial concessions and, as the “ . . . best streetscapes also build on their 19th- century design heritage” . . . “ like pedestrianized Nanjing Road”: a revealing comment of how Euro arrogance will not go gracefully: but painfully!

    Thanqu for a very interesting glimpse into a city about to be engulfed by the tragic consequences of the many brutal international lies, corruption, class strife and consuming ugliness of a predatory quasi-international, financial botulism that has yet to run its course.

  6. December 20, 2011 2:24 pm

    @ Roger
    It is not a “gurkin” its a “gherkin” (a miniature pickled cucumber) and it’s not in Soho but in the City

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