If you look carefully at the pavilion-ettes on top of some of the buildings, you can tell this is a Chinese city. But I see the photograph as an illustration of the way in which context-insensitive modernist design theory is laying waste the ancient cities of China. There a surviving patch of the old city form in the foreground and glitch of marching blocks in the background. It is easy to criticise – but given the available resources, how could things have been done better? As suburban Shanghai demonstrates beyond the realms of doubt, they could certainly be a lot worse! The simplest change is that the blocks should be substantially vegetated: on roofs, balconies and walls. Shanghai is a warm wet city and this would be an adaptation to the geographical context. This policy is being adopted in a wealthy and Chinese-influenced city: Singapore.
(image courtesy leonardo_bonnani)