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The Concrete Dragon: China's Urban Revolution and What it Means for the World
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The Concrete Dragon: China's Urban Revolution and What it Means for the World

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  55 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
China is the most rapidly urbanizing nation in the world, with an urban population that may well reach one billion within a generation. Over the past 25 years, surging economic growth has propelled a construction boom unlike anything the world has ever seen, radically transforming both city and countryside in its wake. The speed and scale of China's urban revolution challe ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 17th 2008 by Princeton Architectural Press (first published May 31st 2004)
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Feb 20, 2010 Linda rated it really liked it
As a history of modern urban development in China, this is pretty good - gives the historical basis, provides a catalogue of modern projects and endeavours. Lots of good factual information and documentation, so it's a good start for people seeking an entry into this urban developments in China. Analytically, he doesn't good deep enough, is my sense, although this book - maybe for the best - is aimed at a layman's audience, rather than say intellectual architecture. As a westerner, he obviously ...more
Daniel Burton-Rose
The PRC building boom is the world's biggest story of the last twenty years: whether the Australian outback or West African forests, no ecosystems can withstand the Chinese resources vacuum. Campanella is an insightful Virgil for this tale of displacement and greed. Surprisingly, though, he underplays the environmental consequences of the building boom, surely the most important element of "what it means for the world," going so far in his conclusion as to succumb to the fantasy that it's "susta ...more
Pearse Anderson
Not the easiest to read, and I did want some more evidence for sections of Campanella's argument (no results for a lot of what he was talking about on Google), but it was an educational read. He's smart, he's been across the country, got some good pictures, and wrote a quality Asian urbanism read. I took notes since it was dense and confusing, but that's just me. The book opened my eyes to a swath of problems and ideas I hadn't seen before, and helped my worldbuilding a lot. Thanks, man.
Charles Denison iv
Jan 04, 2015 Charles Denison iv rated it it was amazing
A fascinating view of modern China in the post Mao Zedong era, through the lens of the development of its cities. There are some similarities between what China is currently going through and what happened in the U.S. in the 20th century with urban renewal and development of the suburbs, except in China the politics behind it and scale at which it is occurring are vastly different. This book touches on the cultural, political, and social history of China as much as it focuses on urban planning i ...more
Nov 02, 2009 Phil rated it it was amazing
Shelves: china
Outstanding treatment of China's urban planning, primarily in the post Mao era. Clear, well documented by easy to read (i.e.: non-academic style). Having visited Beijing and Shanghai, I could visualize the locations and the issues with what's being destroyed in the name of progress. The author should have included many more photos and illustrations (many of the photos included were not essential to the subject, and most were pretty poor images).

Still, very well done for an admittedly limited aud
Frank Stein
Aug 11, 2009 Frank Stein rated it really liked it

Some shockingly incorrect statements, but still fascinating. One, China is obsessed with miniatures: miniature Old Beijings, miniature White Houses, miniature US capitols. They also love mimicry, like the 12 connected suburbs around Shanghai each based on a different culture, Australian suburbs, Colonial America suburbs, Scandinavian suburbs.

Definitely worthwhile. I'll probably review it in full on my blog.
Meghan Fidler
Nov 03, 2013 Meghan Fidler rated it really liked it
A wonderfully accessible narrative about the development boom in China. The narrative could have used a slight bit more emphasis upon the environmental degradation this massive build has produced, though there was quite a bit of environmental damage in China before the boom.
Dec 17, 2012 Carlos rated it it was amazing
Great book. Tremendous insight into not just urban planning but Chinese society and why things happen the way they do. I'd strongly recommend for anyone studying there or really interested in the country.
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