Source: ARCHITECT Magazine Publication date: 2008-12-01
By Andrew Yang
For many Beijingers, the best moment during this summer's Olympics was not the grand opening ceremony or a heroic athletic feat—it was the ability to see the sky. As China prepared for the Olympics, all kinds of measures were put in place: shutting down industrial factories curbed air pollution, and traffic restrictions cut by 50 percent the number of cars on the streets. So, during the games, the appearance of blue skies and unjammed roadways reminded many, for the first time in a long while, how Beijing could seem pleasant and feel intimate.
After five years of Olympics-related construction, and nearly two decades of increasing investment in China, what is the future of China's megasized building culture? August's Olympics frenzy immediately segued into the financial crises of September, and while the United States and Europe deal with the biggest economic disaster in a century, the view from within China is ... surprisingly, business as usual. If anything, a through-the-roof economy is giving way to an economy that's just vastly expanding.
That's not to say that the country won't experience a delay in some of its major projects; no country is immune in the current downturn, and China is in fact slowing down. In October, the government reported that during the period of July through September, China's economy grew only 9 percent—a boon for most nations, but not for fast-growing China, where 10 perc...