Shanghai Then and Now

Travel Tips — By Lauren Johnson on January 27, 2011 at 10:04 am

Shanghai has changed a great deal in a very short period of time.  This image shows Shanghai in 1990 (top) and Shanghai in 2010 (bottom). The image depicts how quickly Pudong (the island area across the Huangpu River) has sprung up.

The 1990 image was a ‘blue sky day’ meaning there is very little pollution in the picture. Fast forward to 2010 where the sky has an almost hazy feel to it.

Aside from the sky scrapers and business structures in Pudong, there are also more access points to cross the river, including the Nanpu and Luopu bridges, the tunnel, and several subway lines, ferries  and even the psychedelic tunnel. Now, getting to Pudong is so easy its almost as if the river isn’t there.

Notice the greenery in the 1990 picture. It is all but lacking in the 2010 image. This could be due to the night time glare and coloring of the 2010 picture, but more likely those trees are gone and those open spaces have all been paved. Unlike Beijing, Shanghai’s nature seems allocated only to the parks, and those famous tree-lined avenues that make Beijing charming are not present in Shanghai.

Notice the change in Puxi, as well. Puxi is the district on the west of the river (closest to the camera i both pictures). You can see the beautiful structures along the Bund (river boardwalk promenade) in the 1990 picture but they are all but hidden by sky scrapers and business centers in the 2010 picture. Some of the charm of that area was inevitably lost in the build up of Puxi.

Now, Shanghai is the largest city in China with the largest population. It is also home to hundreds of thousands of expats. Since it hosted the World Expo in 2010, the city gained new fame and expanded even more, with the expo grounds skirting the river south (to the right) of these pictures.

Tags: population growth, shanghai growth, shanghai largest city, then and now