On December 24, MovingCities landed in Shanghai. Less than 500 days prior to the opening of the 2010 World Expo, the city’s ambitions can be seen everywhere. The featured theme of the expo ‘Better City – Better Life’ is today spread out seemingly evenly over the Shanghainese metropolitan territory. Similar to the way the 2008 Olympic Games ‘One World, One Dream’ theme, transformed Beijing for a couple of years into a self-referential city, one can’t escape the dream of Shanghai, which could be said to be ‘One City, One Life’. If we need to believe the writings on the billboards flanking the elevated highways, the advertisements on shopfronts and the publications accidentally found in bars, hotel lobbies and airport newspaper stands, 2010 is already here.
The short drive from the airport to the French concession, was one through a multi-layered city forest of office, housing and hotel towers. Upon our arrival a grey, waterish and foggy cloud hung everywhere, making our morning journey a hazy urban experience. In the afternoon, as the clouds disappeared, we went for a stroll and did an accidental first scan of the metropolis from on top of a hotel tower located on Huaihai Zhong Lu. The Qihua Tower is a rather anonymous high-building located in the heart of the French concession and besides the stunning view is home to nine foreign consulates.
A couple of snapshots from our first day.
Pictures by movingcities.org