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What makes Shanghai tick

The high-rise structures dotting Shanghai may not appeal to the aesthetically inclined, but the buildings are regarded as the lifeline of the China.

india Updated: Apr 28, 2006 12:50 IST

The high-rise structures dotting Shanghai may not appeal to the aesthetically inclined, but the buildings are regarded as the lifeline of the China.

Hence, no wonder that when Delhi urban planners debate on international models for turning the Capital into a world class city, the controversial topic of whether 'big is beautiful' comes up.

NIIT CEO Prakash Menon, who is settled in Shanghai, says that when urban planners consider Shanghai-like models for Delhi, it’s not high-rise buildings but infrastructure development that they have in mind.

"People want to be happy in their homes, offices and outside (on streets). Just glass and concrete would not bring about happiness. There is need for infrastructure development to support (the glass and concrete). And by infrastructural development I mean adequate drinking water, electricity, housing, parking space, sewage etc," said Menon.

Menon concedes that the buildings in Shanghai may not be architectural marvels, but they all serve the society. Menon, however, feels that Shanghai lacks on greenery.

"Most of the buildings in new Shanghai are 50, 80, 90-storeyed, but they all have a specific purpose — of serving the economy. MNCs have chosen to open up their offices here because they are supported with the necessary infrastructure," he said.

Though there are some old buildings that are beautiful and majestic — but they are mostly concentrated in old Shanghai. "Most of the architecture in the city is recent, as it was developed a few decades ago. But the city is well planned — what is the harm in having a school and a playground after every two blocks," he says.

Every global city has norms for infrastructure and environment and for Delhi to become worldclass, the city would have to live to those norms. "Constructing a 50storeyed building is not enough. The building should have proper fire-fighting equipment, parking, potable water etc — and this in itself, I feel, is a marvel," said Menon.