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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The dream of the '90s is alive in Langfang

The Langfang Eco-Smart City Master Plan will convert Langfang, an old aggie town halfway between Beijing and the Tianjin mega-region, into a sort of Portland of the East.
I wonder who's going to get to play the Sam Rand Twins.

Comments (7)

Why am I doubtful? I think the only thing "green" about this project is the illustrator's choice of color for the picture.

Langfang isn't the only Chinese eco-city. Consider Tianjin:

"The eco-city is being designed by the Surbana Urban Planning Group, a government owned firm headquartered in Singapore with offices in China, India, Brunei, Malaysia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam. The group has won several awards for its work in Southeast Asia, especially Singapore, where the physical geography of the land severely limits the growth that the city of 4.5 million is experiencing. Using Singapore as a laboratory of sorts, Surbana has become one of the premiere design firms when it comes to planning for sustainability."

But eco-cities aren't the only action in China. Lawrence Cheek, in the NYT (15Jan; "Architects find their dream client, in China"), described some of the homes being designed by smaller American firms. For example, "[one] commission came from Shanghai, where a Chinese developer was beginning work on a community of villas bearing stratospheric prices — 50 million to 100 million renminbi, or $7.5 million to $15 million."

"These firms are grateful for the commissions, and not only for the obvious reason — that the Chinese work has helped fill the void left by a listless American economy. More intriguing, the architects say, is that Chinese developers and even government agencies are proving to be better clients than their American counterparts. They say the Chinese are more ambitious, more adventurous and even more willing to spend the money necessary to realize the designs. This thrills the architects, who have artistic undercurrents that often struggle to find an outlet."

China doesn't really need a comparison with Stumptown, with its obsolescent governance and circumscribed vision.

Someone should remind them that they already have entire brand new "ghost cities" sitting over there.

But I must admit, in a huge bubble economy where the point is just spending money as fast as you can, that Portland's ideas make a lot sense.

When the Chinese bubble bursts the formerly nearly rich who have lost it all can live in the rv's and 5th wheel trailers they are currently buying to flaunt their wealth!

"I wonder who's going to get to play the Sam Rand Twins."

Forget that they need a Beau Breedlove and Cylvia character.

This woman must be really ignorant or never lived in Portland and only knows about it from Sam's Tweets.

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