Wow. Just got back from Beijing on Wednesday. I'm going to keep this architecturally relavent and comment on what I saw going on there. Incredible to see just the sheer amount of construction that they're doing. It's really unbelievable. Everyone is scrambling to finish all the construction before the olympics.
This is from the hotel room, but was really a demonstrative view of what's going on throughout the entire city. Some of the stuff going up doesn't look so great, but some of it really is quite nice looking. To say the least, I was throroughly surprised by the architecture.
Urbanistically, they've done a lot of things that are making the city really a nice place to navigate through. Though traffic is still pretty bad at rush hour, there are brand spanking new roads everywhere.
Beijing's also banned the use (save a few exceptions) of motorscooters and motorcycles. Which is incredibly wonderful after coming from the scooter mayhem that is Taipei. Instead, they've allocated an entire lane of traffic to most roads that is bicycle only. Didn't measure, but they're probably around 6 or 7 feet wide. Even better, many of these bike lanes are separated from motorized traffic by a median!
Planning wise it looks really good too. Lots of mixed use going in and activity seems to be pretty abundant night and day throughout the city. Lots of wide sidewalks for plenty of pedestrian use and a fairly decent amount of green. If this is a sign of things to come, Beijing is going to be a wonderful city by 2008.
The question in my mind is, at what lengths and costs did they go to in order to achieve all of this by 2008...
Back to LA next Friday and classes finally start on the 28th... getting really anxious to start now. 13 days and counting.