China's new hi rise cities--what kind of home?

MoccasinJuly 17, 2010

Ok, I'm putting the link below, which will let you read the commentaries and see the slide show of the new "instant" cities that China is building to house the migrating millions leaving the farm life and headed for the urban environment.

What kind of lives do you think they will live in these hi rise buildings? I wonder.

What do you think?

Here is a link that might be useful: Hi rise apartment buildings in China's instant cities?

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DEEP BREATH. This is so shocking to me I felt myself tightening up just looking at the pictures. I can not even imagine living this way or even going to a place like this. I think I would drop dead on the spot from fear of so many people so much around me. What a shock to see this. I do think the last picture is interesting. Wonder how many floors that building is. I wonder about the foundation. What kind of structure it took to hold all of that up. Friend a builder had stories of the hoops he had to jump through to build over three stories in the USA. I really am stunned to see these pictures. Another thought is what will happen when an earth quake does hit? so scary.

Thanks ML I will read the comments later. Hubby wants to eat.


    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 10:36AM
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Wow. I guess it's not a lot different than apartments in large cities in the U.S. but those are just so massive. Wonder how many people get lost looking for their own apartment?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 12:02PM
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Marti, your remark about folks getting lost looking for their dwelling reminds me of the old song, about the man lost on the Boston rapid transit.

Oh, he'll never return, no never return.
His fate is still unlearned.
He will ride forever
Through the streets of Boston,
The man who'll never return...

The photos remind me of The MATRIX movie too.
Creepy and claustrophobic. I could not live
like that either. How fortunate that we do not
require a mindset adapting to living so close.
I'm close enough, thank you, where I am now.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 12:29PM
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Shades of Idaho - have you never lived in an apartment (or visited one) in a big city in the US? Some are pretty dense and just because the Chinese ones are even larger, doesn't mean the people live a lot differently. I am shocked when I see RE prices (here) for "studio" apts., one big room to be used for living, dining, working (office), etc., with maybe a "kitchen" as one end, tiny bath off a side, and maybe a niche for a bed somewhere. They can cost thousands depending on where you live, and there are condo fees on top of the purchase price. What makes them any less like warehousing than the Chinese ones? And take a look at the "projects" (if only somewhat older ones) in the US - horrible places!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 12:30PM
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Oh my goodness, this is almost frightening to me! I can't even's just so many people. I wonder what the fire separation is like. For some reason I feel that these will not long remain popular choices. I just feel that people aren't built to want this kind of beehive living. Maybe I would feel differently if I lived in China though :)

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 12:34PM
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Well, to stay on topic, I'm sure the individual units are quite small, similar to the internet article that was going around recently about a Chinese architect designing his 300 sf apartment so it coould be configured into 32 or 34 "different" rooms. The story reads that he was raised in that apartment and at one time he shared the home with his parents and one boarder!

Borrowing a quote from Sarah Suzanka, they look more like storage boxes for people. The designs aren't really that unique. It's the big city mentality, high density. Not my cup of tea but I guess it works for them. Too bad, from some of the movies and documentaries I have seen, China has some very picturesque areas. Maybe more people should look at China in this light and consider that maybe a totalitarian government isn't that great of an idea.


    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 12:36PM
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What I don't understand is the secrecy. Why bother shrouding it in cloth? Why the guards preventing the guy from taking photos?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 12:42PM
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I read that Chinese cities are growing at the rate of adding a city the size of Houston every month! The jobs and money are in the cities, so everyone is migrating there.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 1:58PM
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Course I never lived in an apartment that size but I have lived in an apartment. Twice. Once when I was a kid in New York and once when I moved away from home. I lasted three months there and knew apartment life was NOT for me. I am a country girl. I live in a city of 150 people. Nearest larger city is 5K. Next nearest is 10K. We avoid Boise like the plague. I have lived rural for the last 25 years and no plans to going back to suburbia.

I was not condemning these people or speaking ill of them. this is their way.It just totally freaked me out to see that many people all together.It is not my way and I left crowded areas to be able to live the way I am comfortable.


    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 2:23PM
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those photos remind me of scenes from a sci fi movie. People all stuck in little cubicles or something. It makes you realise just how populated the planet has become when you see pictures like these

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 4:45PM
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yikes. I just can't imagine living like that.

I also thought about if there's an earthquake!

and I don't like heights. my stomach flips if someone on tv walks out on a balcony higher than the 3rd floor. heck, we had one on the 2nd floor and I didn't go out on it!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 5:27PM
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Yikes! Not my cup of tea at all. I love our little 1/4 acre, our privacy and space. I don't want to be packed in like sardines. People living in China are already used to throngs of people all the time so maybe it doesn't really bother them at all. I can't imagine leaving China's beautiful countryside though to live in that crowded environment.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 12:06PM
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Marti8a...the buildings are shrouded in cloth in case something breaks off or falls off it won't plummet the 50 or so stories down and of course to prevent workers from falling off. Also, the reason for the guards is to prevent people from living/squatting in the building as it is being built.

I lived in Shanghai 15 years ago and a 300 sq ft apartment for a family is an absolute luxury. Most of the migrant workers we saw usually tacked a tarp to the side of a building and made a tent right over the sidewalk.

As for the proximity of people, you get used to it. No such thing as personal space in China, but that is a cultural thing, nothing to do with totalitarianism.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 6:30PM
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Fabb sez:
"As for the proximity of people, you get used to it. No such thing as personal space in China, but that is a cultural thing, nothing to do with totalitarianism."

Your personal observation and experience with the cultural differences are appreciated. It is a world totally different from ours, and I like to know what is similar and dissimilar to us.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 1:43PM
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When I think about the scruffy 'garden' apt complex I grew up in when I was a kid, yeah the place was about 800'sq ft but we had rats in the palm trees -some with wings, some without, mange ridden feral cats in the laundry rooms, cockroaches that came and went in waves from the upstairs neighbor, broken down cars all over the parking lot, hippies with the american flag for window sheers, 10yr old deep shag carpeting, and the creepy guy in the beige overcoat who would try to corner me on the way home from the bus stop...seems like quality of life where you live boils down to money, money, and oh yeah money. The country/culture you live in is just a distraction from the real issue.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 1:41PM
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Zandra, what you are describing is the recipe for a revolution. If the "haves" espouse the attitude of Marie Antoinette, "Let them eat cake," instead of dealing with the problems of the "have nots," then there is not much else they can do to better their conditions than revolt. I think that is what I'd do, anyway. Our society is beginning to deal with issues of overpopulation, or squeezing folks into a smaller area, and I think that requires more concern for the common issues like those you mentioned. The individual is no longer in control of his own life in such conditions. So who is? That tells me that we will see more government presence in the future to deal with the social problems.

Appreciate your personal experiences, and the way you can understand the generalization of problems in all cultures.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 11:02AM
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Well I am so very fortunate I was able to create my life away from so many people. To some living in a city of 150-180 people,not thousand, might be too remote. For me it is perfect. But then I lived in a town of 39 people growing to 42 people 3 years later. I guess I am a hermit. I would not survive in this crowded lifestyle.

We do not have money or fancy things. Nor do we live a high lifestyle. To us going to subway for a five dollar foot long we split and water is the height of a dinner out.

Being the city clerk here I get some behind the scenes governmental doings. I saw lots of bad boy stuff and so far have most of it has been stopped. This bad boy stuff was NOT in favor of the people. This was in favor of filling the bad boy's pockets with $$$ They wanted the big development. Only problem here is there are no jobs or infrastructure to support this development. the bad boys were in construction. What did they care if they ruin the town as long as they got their money for building the roads and houses. What happens to this tiny city after devil may care.

I know many of you have had trouble with city/government control. Believe me I got run over by a city doing once too. Broke my heart to have to leave a cottage I loved and have showed pictures of here many times.

NOW I do have some control of what happens in the city and the controls they try to put on, or not put on, people. Not that the clerk has any power but I do know how to find out what is legal and make sure the council makes sound and legal decisions for our city.

These people in China are used to living this way. It is their culture. I think that is just fine. All I was saying is I can not live that way. I fought for 16 years saving money and learning to live off the land so I could live rurally comfortably.

Totally agree it is a sad deal many have in the way they are forced to live because there seems to be no way out. Breaks my heart for them. I felt trapped too before I left California. But I was so miserable I just did something about it. If they are not miserable living this way they I am happy for them.

I wish I had a closer view of the shrouds on the buildings.That would be interesting to see. I kind of figured it could be for safety. For workers and those below.


    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 3:34PM
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Chris I don't mean to be a stinker or bash anyone personally, there just seemed to be a lot of posts along the same veiwpoint of "egads how can anyone live like that...eeewww" (hey incidentally my small house is up for sale and I'm relocating to ironically Idaho, preferably a rural small town, from you guessed it, CA) -in fact I feel very priviledged in this economic crisis to have choices about where I go, even if they are quite limited, probably a 1-2 bedroom stick built as small as I can find, and If I didnt have animals in tow I might even go the RV lifestyle. But anyway, I've been living under the poverty line for many years as far as income is concerned, never took a dime of government assistance btw. I've worked as many as three jobs at once to both support a three bedroom house left over from my divorce and go to school, often in service jobs for the wealthy. I get irked when I hear "I just couldn't live that way", since I've heard it so very often, but anyway now that I'm able I have to retort "Oh yes you would if you had to, trust me." I also think the culture of the past twenty years or so in the US cultivated greed and made it okay to look down on the poor as if they were some kind of separate species fit for zoos, as if it could never happen to just about anyone, even in this country. All I really want to say is that I disagree, when put in the position people will live any way they have to based on luck or lack of it.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 4:48PM
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Zandra, if people are put in the position with no other option, then they can and will endure all manner of conditions. I'm sorry that you read our comments on this thread as condescending and better-than-thou. I for one, have not encountered that attitude in the opinions expressed on this thread or anywhere else on the Smaller Homes Forum. Most of us make do with smaller homes than the average, and do the best we can to be good neighbors. I'm sure it must be your sensitivity based on personal experience that leads to your conclusion that you have encountered an elitist attitude.

However, no way....not here. To me, I believe that, "THERE BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD GO I." And as long as we have options and the fortitude to seek the life we want, I am sure folks will try to do the best they can. In a previous post, I said that when the HAVES deny the HAVE NOTS the right or opportunity to acquire the means to live without want, then that is the formula for a revolution.

I do not wish to launch into a political debate. When I originally started this thread, I was wondering what kind of life the Chinese would have in those high rise cities. They were leaving their farms and a known life, and coming to a new city with new neighbors, new jobs, new ways of acquiring food and making friends.

I have long admired the computer game, SIMCITY, which simulates the way city planning changes the lives of its residents. It is a tremendous learning tool.

We are all fortunate that we have options of one kind or another. I don't think a single person frequenting this particular forum subscribes to something we used to call RADICAL CHIC, back in the "old days" of the 60s...We are all down-to-earth people doing the best we can, and we have the compassion to recognize the tribulations that arise in the lives of those around us. The concern voiced here, I submit, does not denote lack of respect for other humans in different conditions.

Peace, Zandra. Life is good.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 5:51PM
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I'm sort of baffled by this thread, and by the photo-essay that inspired it. The only one of these areas that looks at all sinister or blade-runnerish is the Hong-Kong accordion tower in pictures 4 and 8. The others are just seem like apartment developments under construction. They're depressing only because the developers seem to be ignoring the huge trend in urban planning towards making neighborhoods walkable with street-level retail.

The photographer seems to be anti-sprawl. But I wouldn't even call this sprawl. It is development,but people have to live somewhere. Sprawl is what happens when you house your burgeoning population in 1-2 story homes, each on its 1/2 acre of land in subdivisions connected by endless highways lined with strip malls. Natural areas and farmland are gobbled up, and huge amounts of energy are wasted as people have to get in the car for every simple errand.

This density is actually more environmentally friendly. And with better planning, most of these developments seem like they could be reasonably pleasant places to live.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 7:03PM
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I think that people are just reacting to the sheer size and numbers in these buildings! I really appreciate Fabb's comments on the culture in China, it is so good to have an idea of the way other people live.

There is certainly a tendency in this county toward excess, but I think most on this forum appreciate a smaller, simpler, way of life and are no stranger to strapped budgets and tiny digs. I work three jobs (used to work four) and my husband works two and while our home would be way too small for many, it is our tiny kingdom that we work hard for (and on!).

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 7:43PM
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