Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Speed of Progress

When I came to Beijing in 2007, this is what the subway map looked like:

Today, the subway map looks like this:

Line 9, is almost but not yet opened, but slated to open this year, so they say. Last night i met some American dude who commented that Beijing is a surprisingly modern city. It is indeed. In fact, much more modern now than it was a few short years ago, as tons of development, money, and futuristic architecture have pummeled their way into this somewhat smoggy metropolis.

It looks good. But it is sad that a lot of historical hutongs and neighbourhoods are being wiped into oblivion because Versace and H&M need brightly chrome accented shopping malls to make their homes in.

I could use this opportunity to talk about "the bubble" or the heavy expectations that "if you build it, they will come," but frankly i'm a bit too tired today. So instead i'll just say that more subways is better, they get great use, they're highly subsidized ($0.30 to ride anywhere), and i almost never use them since i live downtown and have a bike now.

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