Chongqing, the next big thing?

Build the city, and the people and businesses will come. Or so the government hopes. Watch this video, Chongqing, City on Steroids, to see Chinese capitalism at work, for better or worse. The video is long and clearly intended for an audience that isn’t very familiar with China (lots of China 101) but certainly well worth a look. Some of it is quite fascinating.

On top of the usual job stress, I have a pretty bad cold and this coming week will be a killer. So this blog will continue to have lots of peaks and valleys, from the flood of posts and comments from a few weeks ago to the slow trickle you’re seeing now.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 17 Comments

Funny Richard, actually I am in Chongqing right now. Nice city, it reminds me a little of HK, though the fag can really get on your nerves.

May 11, 2008 @ 9:22 pm | Comment

Chongqing has been a big thing for some time. They have just not been that big for foreigners, although that will undoubtedly change if more companies move inland. I bet some expatriates are currently being offered premium packages to move to such cities. I don’t know if CQ will ever have the same draw as any of the coastal cities for foreigners though. It doesn’t traditionally have the types of things to do that many foreigners like.

Chinese friends, note that I am only referring to the snobby white types. Nobody can doubt that Chongqing will be one of China’s top cities in the future and is already one of the largest.

May 11, 2008 @ 10:44 pm | Comment

Hop Sing says that Chongqing is going to be the next Bonanza:

http://www.bonanza-legacy.com/hsalbum/hs007.jpg.html

May 12, 2008 @ 1:33 am | Comment

Richard, sounds like your sick more often now than when you were living in Taiwan. Any connection to the pollution?

May 12, 2008 @ 2:47 am | Comment

I don’t think so, Gordon, it’s just the pace of life, and the high levels of stress of my particular job. And it’s always the same thing: lack of sleep, rapid heartbeat, weight loss, fatigue – all the stuff that depresses the immune system and leaves you open to getting colds. Feel much better now than over the weekend so maybe I can bounce back soon.

May 12, 2008 @ 8:33 am | Comment

Chongqing’s development is a fast forward of BJ and SH but the social and economic problems are also being fast forwarded. And I do believe CQ’s population is more like 30 million, unless non-hukou holders and certain economic classes are being un-counted.

May 12, 2008 @ 11:43 am | Comment

@Richard

Fascinating video indeed

May 12, 2008 @ 2:46 pm | Comment

Several things that impressed me in the video.

“There are many opportunities here but not for us, we do not have the right education”

“The migrant workers make look the place bad”
From house developer

Old woman in here 60s making ends meet by planting some crops in a landfill.

Migrant awareness day.

etc…

May 12, 2008 @ 2:56 pm | Comment

About car induced air pollution.

Besides better engines, higher quality gas, catalizators and exhaust filters, I always wondered is part of the energy produced by an car could also be use to clean a bit the environment.

In the same way air filters clean the air that enters inside a car’s passenger room. Some similar device could be used to filter exhaust particles generated from other cars.

Maybe some big filter device could be installed on top of as many cars as possible. Using car movement and maybe part of engine power to soak air in and push it through micro filters.
Filters should be ease to replace.
Installing inside the car as standard equipment could be OK, but usually not enough place available inside, and need to buy new cars to use it.

Give incentives to car owners that allow to mount such thing on their car: Tax discounts, gas discounts, allowed to circulate when other cars cannot due to high pollution levels, etc.

Definitely could be installed as standard outfit in public transportation vehicles: Buses, city service trucks.
Similar device could be installed instead of in car at some fixed locations. Busy main intersections.
Give some incentives to building owners in that case. Discount in electricity bills for example.

It may not compensate the total amount of exhaust particles emitted by car traffic, but it may help to compensate a little.

Yes, equip cars with exhaust filter could be quite effective, but car pollution comes not only from exhaust but also for dust and oder particles that they generate (besides engine) or raise while running. This system will also absorb part of the particle pollution from other city’s particle generating activities.
If enough vehicles are equipped they could make a difference in air quality

May even incorporate some “air re freshener” in some of these filter devices…..

Crazy idea may be…. ;-)

May 12, 2008 @ 3:22 pm | Comment

Chongqing will be one of China’s top cities in the future and is already one of the largest.

Not if it gets many of these “snobby whites” you’re talking about.

May 12, 2008 @ 3:26 pm | Comment

Never really got to see much of Chongqing, just the blisteringly hot, dry, dusty outskirts. As far as that car filter idea is concerned, I’d recommend the bottom of the car. Less aerodynamic down there anyway and it’s right next to the source. There’s “chaff” in the form of particles that would otherwise fall right back on the road, but they can be selectively repulsed to some extent. Also, buses would have more surfaces available, and if filters are exposed to the sun, you can impregnate them with photocatalysts. The big problem is the washing/replacement. Use the car’s kinetic energy to solve or mitigate that problem and you’re golden.

I mean, “Snobby? Well, double-snob on you!”

May 12, 2008 @ 4:55 pm | Comment

Eat more Peking Duck and get well soon!

May 12, 2008 @ 5:03 pm | Comment

@metamaterial
“The big problem is the washing/replacement”

Use replaceable modules. The system can be designed like a box, with several filters mounted in series. One after the other

As one filter gets clogged, it could be slided to one side or upwards so thee next filter comes into action. System could be actuated manually or electro-mechanically.

When all filters are clogged. Go to next service station and have the replaced by new ones. Normal tank stations/major shopping centers could be used as replace stations.
Old filters can be centrally cleaned for reuse.
This way system run longer before need of maintenance.

Reason to use roof of car is easier installation. No need to retrofit existing cars/vehicles too much.

For aerodynamic concerns, it could be designed like one of those coffers to carry baggage that people put in top of cars for travel.
Aerodynamic design. Easy to install/deinstall to use in different cars.
Intake could be opened or closed to reduce resistance when traveling fast outside city to reduce gas consumption and there are no so high pollution concentrations.

For premium models only…
GPS controlled open/close of intake. System activated on most polluted areas automatically…. Database updated periodically through GSM/UMTS/CDMA It could also be used to control system according to pollution concentration depending on day weather conditions…. ;-)
and Bonus points could be automatically charged on car driver account/”points card” when system in use. ;-) )

May 12, 2008 @ 6:20 pm | Comment

@metamaterial
“As one filter gets clogged, it could be slided to one side or upwards so thee next filter comes into action. ”

Or slide old filter out and then new filter in from batch of available filters… until all filters are used.

May 12, 2008 @ 6:24 pm | Comment

Earthquake

May 13, 2008 @ 12:12 am | Comment

Yes, Chongqing is growing.
But the problem about ChongQing is whether it can generate enough economic activities by itself.
So far the majority of the development were driven by Central government’s develop west policy. Eventually that policy will end or shift to other cities, can Chongqing mantain its pace then?

May 13, 2008 @ 4:14 am | Comment

Isn’t every city in China the next big thing, all the time?

Chongqing is a pretty cool place, more grit and character than many other cookie-cutter mainland metropolises. Probably the closest approximation in reality to the Gotham City of Batman lore (yeah, more so than NYC, which has become a caricature of itself). I think its unique geographical setting has a lot to do with its strange charm, and as a great bonus there was a mean, mean hotpot to be found. As an avid urbanist, I was kept quite busy in Chongqing.

Of course, this was all waaaaay back in 2004. I’m sure the place has been thoroughly “harmonized” by now.

May 13, 2008 @ 10:51 pm | Comment

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