Shanghai Skyline: Before And After

Back in 1990 - top - Shanghai looked like a lovely green city. Only 20 years later - bottom - you can film the second part of Blade Runner in it.

Shanghai has always been an important place. Located on the Yangtze river's mouth, this Chinese city was already a world commerce hub back in the '30s. But it wasn't until Deng Xiaoping's economic reforms that the city exploded. Only 15 years later, it became the largest cargo port in the world. Twenty years later, it's the megalopolis you are seeing in this photo.

Do you have more examples of skyline changes? Send them to me. [All That's InterestingTwitter]


    Snapshots should be done for every major Chinese centre.

    I lived in Hong Kong for 7 years, and saw great change in the environment over this time. On most days you could see the humidity combined with the pollution.

    Its not surprising really - China being the number one most industrialised nation on the planet.

    You also know its a sign of the times when aircraft landing at HK international fly in on auto pilot, because they can't see a thing (most days) until about 75-100 ft. Scary but so true...

    I've been to Shanghai 4 times in the past few years, and it's even changed dramatically in that time. The first couple of times I went, it was a weird situation. A thriving technotropolis, but at the same time, it was still stuck in the past in many ways and very dirty. Everywhere I went there were holes in the roads, footpaths only half finished, bits of concrete and patches of mud all over the place. All this changed with the onset of expo though. I just got back from Shanghai last week, and vast improvements have been made in all areas. Even since the previous visit when construction began for the expo. Last time, there were still works of all sorts going on. Holes in roads and footpaths etc, but you could see they were working on it. It didn't look like they were going to succeed, but to my surprise, when i went back this time (around 6 months later) it was all finished. There are now no scrabbly footpaths, no holes in roads, trees lining the streets, endless rows of flowers along the sidewalks. It was amazing. It actually looks like a completed city at last! And all in such a short space of time. Even my wife, who was born in Shanghai, couldn't believe they got all the work done! It's always been a fantastic place to visit, but at least you don't have to watch where you walk anymore ;)

      @welbot: I completely agree. I went to Shanghai in November 2006 and then again in July 2010. The city was great back then, but it has only improved up until now. For example, 7 of the 13 total subway lines opened in the past 4 years, and a further 4 have had extensions...making a total of 11 out of 13 lines either being created or extended since I was last there. It's really easy to get around, the people seem less rude, people follow traffic signals better, AND the smog was absent while I was there!...and I have dark blue sky and puffy white cloud pictures to prove it. The Bund has been slightly expanded south, with new classical European designs which don't clash with the historic buildings, and they've added new buildings (including the tallest building in China) to Pudong. What a difference 4 years can make! And that sums of China in general. The China of today isn't even the China of 5 years ago, and the China of 2015 won't be the same China as now. (Hopefully, they'll have Google and Wikipedia back by then.) I haven't been to Dubai (which is quite a bit smaller), but I'd say that Shanghai is the most magnificently developing city in the world. (I just wonder what happened to some of the handicapped beggars...)

    Did anyone notice that the ambient air also dramatically changed? It is much dirtier. Even the pollution haze is very apparent in the night photo.
    If you take the photo during the day, it might look worse. Gone is the day when you can see those lovely blue sky with pure white cloud, everything will looks more greyish for sure.

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