Who's Your City?, by Richard Florida
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Not a lot of people in New York know about Shanghai, yes, it is close to Beijing, but Shanghai is unique itself. When I mention the 2010 World Expo, people sort of get an idea of the hosting city, but when they are teleported back in 10 years, everything in Shanghai is incredibly unfamiliar. Born in Shanghai, a city east coast of China, also known as the “Oriental Paris,” I became familiar with the fast change in Shanghai. In Shanghai, one of the biggest metropolitan areas in the world, is subject to change within a short time. Within years of time, Shanghai has embraced itself into a multi diverse city in which like the growing of its economic activities, more people from all over the world come and stay here. Like New York, I do not feel isolated here because of elements within the city that bring me the feeling of home, even though Shanghai is 7376 miles away.

Living in Shanghai, I feel very personally attached to places, especially the old Chinese streets where the government is preserved very well. Since Shanghai before was occupied by British, French, and Russia in 1842, 1930, 1840s respectively, many of the building located downtown “Pu xi” of Shanghai shows the intricate designs of the foreign movements. What is special about the British and French building on the bund, is that in combination with old preserved Shanghainese buildings, city dwellers would feel a sense of comfort and peace in a fast pace city. Whenever I go to Shanghai for vacation, I would always go the ShaoXing and TaiKang Road located in the West downtown area of Shanghai. Walking on the roads of ShaoXing and TaiKang Road, I see people under café umbrellas, chattering, flapping their arms, gesturing the waiter, as I walk by. Things are very much slowed down here, also take the street of MaoMing Road, north of HuaiHai Road, the cobblestone lanes, ShiKuMen, doors which are framed with large stones in which olden days tenants live. The culturally rich aspects of the streets bring vitality to the people living in the city.

Living in New York, I feel much differently than the engaging feeling I feel in Shanghai. When I first came to New York, people seem much isolated, or cold in other words. People are harder to talk to, thus harder to find friends even within the dorms I’m living in. That’s only the negative experience I’ve felt coming to New York. In Shanghai, spaces are much wider; therefore people’s hearts are not as crammed. On the streets of Maoming road, old ladies sit on the sidewalk selling orchid blossoms that the faint smell would fill up the whole sidewalk. Sometimes within the week, the old lady would walk home, basket empty, humming the familiar tune of nursery rhymes, in to the ever passionate streets of Shanghai.

Sent by Lina from New York

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