Say It Ain’t So

Oh, the sad , sad , horrible act of trading the long term for the short term. Putting a quick infusion of cash over the preservation of nature, and the long term enjoyment of life.

Please, please , say it ain’t so Shanghai!

Via Shanghaiist:

Tensions between development and environment look set to define this century. In Shanghai, the municipal government is currently wrestling with the temptation to hand Chongming island – described as the city’s “last virgin territory” – over to the developers.
The island lies at the mouth of the Yangtze river and is well known for its unspoilt natural beauty. It has large swathes of wetland that millions of migrating birds rest and recuperate on every year. The island is already populated but remains relatively rural, undeveloped, and distinctly low-rise. A fifth of its area – 300 square kilometres – has already been turned into the Dongtan wetlands nature reserve.
The official line of the local government is that the environment of the island will come first if (i.e. ‘when’) it is developed. They have recently released new plans proposing to build a Chongming ‘eco-city’ that will only have ‘environmentally friendly industries’ on it. The island has already been connected with new bridges and tunnels but officials insist that any developments that arise from these vastly improved transport links will be limited.
However, privately, the South China Morning Post reports, municipal authorities are considering turning the island over to the developers. The temptation to do so must be very great. Recently Shanghai’s economy has been performing relatively poorly, and last year the mayor said that it would have to find new ways to drive its growth. Selling the island’s land to developers would make a lot of quick bucks. The island is huge – over 1,400 square kilometres (China’s third largest) – far, far bigger than Hong Kong island (80.5 sq km) and more similar in size to all of Hong Kong’s territories combined (1,104 sq km). This represents a lot of undeveloped land and the Post reports how officials privately refer to it as the “Long Island in the East” (comparing it to New York’s relatively developed Long Island). They are also increasingly keen on the idea of developing it into a special zone where gambling is allowed, similar to Macau.
At the moment the island remains an excellent destination for a peaceful day-trip from busy Shanghai.

I love Chongming! I don’t want to see it become overly developed with brass , rude drivers beeping angrily , almost killing pedestrians, and emitting noxious fumes into the air. I love the tranquility and peace of the island. I had planned to make it my summer weekend destination spot for many a year to come.

5 thoughts on “Say It Ain’t So

  1. I don’t know.

    I have been to Chongming, and ‘nature island’ it is not. It is quieter than the city, but it is hardly picturesque.

    Also, I am not sure that we have any place to call for ‘no development’ in some areas.

    I mean we can’t just pick areas that we agree with; ‘yes, develop here, build me some nice, new and civilised areas but don’t touch others’

    There are still millions of people that need to be given new city areas, such as happens in Songjiang, Jinshan, Jiading etc. – this is necessary so that central Shanghai can eventually become a more normal and developed city in itself.

    Sorry to tow the party line but that’s just one opinion 🙂

    • The only time I really spent on Chongming was at Dongping Forest Park and I absolutely loved it. I guess I’ve been in Shanghai too long. It can’t touch any of the true wild parks by my parents house in Ohio but it felt like such a breath of fresh air . Really because it is fresh air! I don’t want to lose having a place in Shanghai where it actually feels good to breathe. Plus , I don’t care about casinos. I don’t want those rich bastards and government officials cruising around beeping at all the mere peasants on foot all while making the air like the city center. Do they have to develop Chongming? I mean c’mon Songjiang , Jiading, and Jinshan all have tons of space for development. Let’s see what happens.

    • Yikes, I disagree, DCB. I think we absolutely have a responsibility to say “no, you can’t build there.” But, I’m the “Good Villager”, and you’re the “Developing City”, so we exist on different planes. Agree to disagree…

      RMM, thanks for posting on this. I don’t know Shanghai at all. It is sad to think that something good (and by good, I mean ‘related to nature’) will be decimated by communo-capitalist – oh, let’s just say human-centred – interests.

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