Slideshow: China’s Instant Cities

The New York Times has posted a slideshow of China’s urban construction sites, showing the breakneck development as millions of citizens move from the countryside to the city:

This collection of photographs, entitled “Prelude,” captures the awe and foreboding one feels around these instant cities. These photographs are ecological in the classical sense of the word—”eco” meaning “home” in Greek, and “log” meaning “word”—since they create a dialogue about home, about the way infrastructure first reflects our aspirations and assumptions, and then shapes them.

Captured with a wide-angled lens and unfiltered film exposures, the construction sites appear as underworld environs, and the accordion-folded, residential high-rises of these metropolises morph into what could be never-ending circuit boards.

While these structures spring from the clash and synthesis of Adam Smith and Mao Zedong, they also reflect the breakneck speed at which sprawl is entangling cities worldwide. The photographs, by rendering images of the home as cold and disturbing, question how the most powerful nations on earth fetishize bigger and faster growth without adequately addressing the need for sustainable economies and lifestyles. Peering into his pictures, we see space stations on a lunar landscape, a future in which the last tree on earth has long ago been uprooted.

Watch the slideshow here.

July 17, 2010 7:12 AM
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Categories: Economy, Sci-Tech, Society