Creating New Urban Landscapes in Asia
Chapter 3: Rivalling Beijing and the world: realizing Shanghai's ambitions through cultural infrastructure
Shanghai has long felt a sense of rivalry with the national capital, Beijing, desirous as it is to gain a primary position in the national imaginary. In recent times, Shanghai has also sought visibility on the world stage as a global city. In some ways, it may be said that the latter ambition is really about reclaiming its past character and reputation as ‘the Paris of the East’. In 1842, with the signing of the Treaty of Nanjing, Shanghai and four other Chinese ports were opened to Western trade, leading, by the 1930s, to Shanghai’s position as one of the world’s five most important commercial centres and the second busiest port. But while Shanghai has always been seen as China’s leading commercial, trade, shipping and financial centre, it is not known to be China’s cultural capital.
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