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The good people over at Statista provided us with yet another excellent China infographic, this time about the country’s huge online population. Already, 1 in 5 worldwide internet users is Chinese, yet still less than half of the country’s population is online. Most of those are people living in China’s urban areas, accounting for 73.5% of those online. That statistic and the overall number of people using the internet is bound to increase with the technological advantages that urban areas continue to afford over rural areas.

The world of microblogging is also exploding. China’s version of Twitter, called Weibo, is already a paradigm-changing social phenomenon with over 300 million registered users. Although strict government controls routinely restrict searches for sensitive topics, savvy netizens find ways around these blockades through the use of aliases and codewords. For instance, while the ongoing saga surrounding the recent escape of blind dissident Chen Guangcheng from house arrest has led authorities to block searches for his name, Weibo users are creatively microblogging around the sensors .

It might be too early to assess the full extent of influence that widespread internet use has on Chinese society, but it is safe to assume that it has already changed the social landscape in significant ways.

  • Patricia H. Gay - I am new to your impressive blog. My interest priority is historic preservation so am hoping to learn from your blog about historic architecture, from modest to grand, with perhaps more interest in the modest and less grand, and historic neighborhood preservation, including street grids and neighborhood commercial areas, in China. Preservation is a critical component of environmental conservation, for a number of what should be obvious reasons. Destroying the historic built environment is not good for the environment; I am pleased that historic preservation programs have contributed as much as they have to environmental conservation, although they are not valued in that way in general.ReplyCancel

Shenzhen, China’s experimental Special Economic Zone, is often derided for its lack of history and culture. This is in no small part due to the fact that the city is essentially a boomtown that is more or less just over 30 years old. Yet making up for this drawback is the fact that the city has some of the most interesting and innovative new architecture being built in the country.

I was recently informed of a design for a compelling new project that fits the bill for Shenzhen’s growing stock of interesting buildings. The Yabao Hi-Tech Park is a new development by the Shenzhen-based Galaxy Group and designed by the architecture firm 10 Design. View full post »

  • Hao Hao Report - Someone thinks this story is fantastic…

    This story was submitted to Hao Hao Report – a collection of China’s best stories and blog posts. If you like this story, be sure to go vote for it….ReplyCancel

Prosper Center, Beijing’s First LEED Gold Certified Building

The following is a guest post by Daniel Garst, a Beijing-based American writer. This article originally appeared in the March 24, 2011 China Daily Metro edition.

Nothing concentrates the mind of economic planners quite like political instability in key overseas energy suppliers.  China’s new Five Year Plan therefore not only mandates further reductions in the energy used in generating economic output, but also sets, for the first time, overall consumption goals.

Making buildings here more energy efficient will be one key element in achieving these goals.  A January 7, 2011 National Geographic News story states that the building sector absorbs 30% of China’s energy, a threefold increase since 1980. View full post »

Every now and again, I like to take a step back and refocus on China demographics to bring to light the sheer scale of the country in terms of population and economic growth. I do this because there are many commentators who still question the whole China urbanization program, scratching their heads while myopically looking at the same handful of so-called ‘ghost cities’ (many of which are actually mere districts of much larger municipalities). View full post »

Ningbo History Museum by architect Wang Shu

Last month, this year’s Pritzker Prize (architecture’s highest honor) was awarded to Chinese architect Wang Shu. The announcement was surprising for a few reasons. For one, consensus around the architecture blogosphere was that the award would go to a more high-profile architect such as Toyo Ito or Steven Holl, both looked over in recent years. Secondly, assuming that the Pritzker jury intentionally chose a Chinese architect, there were others who could have been considered such as Zhu Pei, Ma Qingyun, or Ma Yansong (perhaps still a bit too young).

The Chinese architects mentioned above derive inspiration from China’s ascendancy towards the future, pushing the limits of avant-garde building form. Wang Shu’s architecture, on the other hand, is rooted more in the past, exuding firmness and strength. In this regard, Wang’s architecture is more like last year’s Pritzker winner, Portugal’s Eduardo Souto de Moura, than his Chinese counterparts. View full post »