AgentInternational

Ancient China did home design right

Modern workmanship is shadow of nation's rich past

Editor's note: Arrol Gellner is currently on an extended stay near Shanghai. Following is one of a series of columns comparing the built environments of America and China. China is a nation of baffling contrasts. It's a place that practically defines the notions of culture and permanence: Consider the Great Wall, or the ancient garden residences of my adopted hometown, Suzhou. And yet today's China is better known by its mad scramble for status and wealth, its penchant for superficial glitz, and its monumental indifference to quality. In Nanjing, a glittering new railway station unveiled just a few years ago is already falling apart, thanks to modern China's typically hasty workmanship. A new station just being completed in my adopted hometown of Suzhou no doubt awaits the same fate.The main reason for the dismal quality of China's built environment is the invariably breakneck construction schedules imposed by local governments, which serve to aggrandize the officials in...

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