1 of 7
Better City, Better Life
Shanghai. A metropolis I explored for 5 days. I travelled with a taxi to go from point A to point B. I noticed the following issues.
The first thing I noticed was the enormous amount of smog. Like a smothering thick blanket it covered the city. Loud noises were non apparent and all smell seemed to be neutralised. Because of the smog everything was blank and colourless. Although the temperature was high and the sun probably was shining, the light that got through was filtered.
The next thing I notices was the absence of birds. No sparrows, starlings or even seagulls. Not even at the waterside. In all the days I visited Shanghai I counted 3 sparrows in a bush and some pigeons who were kept in an older part of town with low rise buildings.
It was hot and humid and because of the noticeable absence of birds it occurred to me there were no insects either. A port town along a big river without insects, no flies and no mosquitoes. No creepy crawlers on the footpaths or in the flower boxes. A city like a child would draw without details. A caricature.
The amount of green was out of proportion to the amount of concrete. Gardens and soccer fields were situated on roofs. Practical, but concealed for most city dwellers. The highway through town was one of the easiest travel methods. There were some token plants on the shoulders of the road. A city as big as the province Utrecht. You can travel for 40 minutes on the highway without the skyline of high rise buildings ever changing. No blue skies or clouds in sight. The only differences between city areas were some local rain showers or the density of the yellow smog.
In this city the World Expo was staged with the theme: Better City, Better Life.