Huangpu skyscrapers, Shanghai. Seth Rosenblatt (c) 2006.
Shanghai was surprisingly more like Tokyo than any other place I’ve been. In some ways, like fashion and edginess, Shanghai was a bit NQR: Not Quite Right. In others, like architecture, Shanghai was the city that Tokyo dreams of becoming, or perhaps the modern version of what Tokyo was in the 1970s. The buildings were new, but the city’s transformation is not yet complete. A few old neighborhoods remain, where tight alleys and life lived in the streets is rapidly being demolished for 30-story boxes, bright and clean and soulless. Of course, if a soul is dependent on running water and private toilets, then the 30-story box could be heaven.