Cracker by Damian Christie

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Cracker: Weapons of Mass Production

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  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Yamis,

    See also Milton Keynes/Stevenage/Basingstoke (or Christchurch, for that matter).

    I grew up partly in Basingstoke, and it's amazing how you can get from green fields to a really boring suburban wasteland with lots of roundabouts in the time it takes a kid to reach teenageness. Although all those building sites made for great play areas, in the days before high fences, alarms and watchmen.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4359 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Graham Dunster,

    Similar vein – politics/mark-kitto-youll-never-be-chinese-leaving-china

    Ah yes, did see that. Kitto makes some very good points, but I find he overstates his case somewhat. That article struck me as being unnecessarily bitter, in other words. Having said that, I do intend to get my own family out of China in the near future (progress report: my daughter is now officially Kiwi. Next step: my wife needs a visa) and for reasons very similar to what Kitto outlines in his piece. I’m just not having as rough a time of it as he seems to be.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 1963 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Yamis,

    it’s like something from Simcity or one of those other build your own city games.

    Yeah, it does seem to happen that fast. Just a couple of hundred metres north of where I'm sitting there was a market a year and a half ago. Now it's yet another real estate development nearing completion. Out where my brother in law lives was once a small town on the east bank of the Chaobai River in Hebei, then the developers realised it was close enough to the Beijing CBD to commute. The expressway from Beijing to Tongzhou was stretched out and across the river and highrises shot up like mushrooms. Now if you drive down the main road of that town you'll see hustlers trying to shove advertising for these real estate developments through the windows of every car that looks like it might slow down and turn off the road, with the exception of taxis and trucks almost every car has Beijing licence plates instead of Hebei plates, and the locals resent Beijingers because they can no longer afford an apartment in their own town. SMS spam is more likely to be for real estate than anything else. There's even at least one pop song about the real estate boom (no idea if that link will open outside China or if its geoblocked, if you can watch it the imagery is unsubtle enough that you don't need to understand Chinese).

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 1963 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie, in reply to Yamis,

    Just a little thing for the author, but if you are going to include the 'greater city area' in the population then you need to do that for every other mega city in the world.

    Yeah I appreciate that. I spent a bit of time trying to work out accurately how to explain that and it turns out the term "biggest city" has a dozen different measures/meanings. I was referring to it being the second biggest agglomeration, as defined say, here: http://www.citypopulation.de/world/Agglomerations.html

    I don't really want to get into a debate about such things, but that's the reasoning I went with - needless to say it was quite a difficult article to write in lots of ways in the sense of getting current, accurate information in English to confirm what people were telling me - you can imagine the headaches I got trying to research labour law legislation pertaining to Guangzhou!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1127 posts Report Reply

  • martinb,

    I remember being there near the train station at New Years when the railroads were delayed by snow. That was a bit of an eye-opener for anyone who might have thought Auckland was a reasonable sized city!

    Auckland • Since Jul 2010 • 156 posts Report Reply

  • Vince McLeod,

    I do wonder what impact 3D printing will have on places like this. It appears that a lot of manufacturing jobs simply won't exist in a decade's time.

    Nelson, New Zealand • Since Nov 2012 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to martinb,

    That was a bit of an eye-opener for anyone who might have thought Auckland was a reasonable sized city!

    Tim Shadbolt was on Morning Report ripping into the Govt for leaving the regions to rot, in context of the Bluff Smelter vs Meridian Energy issue. He also raised a thought-provoking question, "can we afford to have 42% of all of NZers living in Auckland?", after discussing Auckland's housing shortage and the decline of the regions.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4060 posts Report Reply

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