Fritz Lang’s Beijing?

One of my favorite new blogs is BLDGBLOG and they have this post (@Blogspot, proxy!) about this Xinhua article stating:

Beijing has fixed 17 areas, including the traditional commercial district of Wangfujing and flourishing Central Business District (CBD), as the key zones for tapping underground space, according to the Beijing Municipal Institute of City Planning and Design.

In the long run, an “underground town” covering 90 million square meters will be established by 2020, with per capita underground space reaching five square meters in the city, according to a plan of the institute.

Currently, Beijing has developed 30 million square meters of underground area, said Shi Xiaodong, a designer of the underground program with the institute.

5 square meters per capita… comes to about 90 square kilometers, or basically the size of Copenhagen. Fritz Lang imagined a giant city by 2026 with the working class toiling underground for the wealthy who live in massive skyscrapers above. Of course, if the Beijing planners read their scifi, they’d know a thousand years later they’d become soft and stupid and the Morlocks would come up to eat them. And, once again, China would have to be saved by a time traveling English twit. But the Chinese government still subscribes to all the worst early twentieth century literature, so I guess it’s the hard way for them!

Beijing is projected to have 18 million people by 2020 if policies to limit growth succeed, but it could be 21 million if they fail. 18 million is considered the ceiling according to the Beijing Municipal Committee. By 2025, roughly one third, or 6-7 million Beijingers, will be over the age of sixty. The water resources of the city are already stretched thin.

60 percent of the country will live in the cities nationwide by the same year.

The Discussion: 4 Comments

Beijing will have run out of water by 2020…

November 18, 2006 @ 3:10 am | Comment

It’s virtually impossible even to imagine numbers that high.

November 18, 2006 @ 12:04 pm | Comment

Beijing will never run out of water.

Las Vegas will never run our of water.

People, cultures, and nations achieve when they need, and want to.

If anyone thinks the Chinese will not be able to figure out how to get enough water to Beijing then you need to re-examine the Chinese mind.

November 20, 2006 @ 1:27 am | Comment

I bet we’ll never run out of oil, either. This logic is sweet!

November 20, 2006 @ 3:34 pm | Comment

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