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by CareyBot

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 sam...