[photopress:modelcities_venice.jpg,full,alignright]London has come to Shanghai. (So has Venice and Zurich and a few other places.) If you can walk past the Cob Gate Fish & Chip shop and bronze statues of Winston Churchill, Florence Nightingale and William Shakespeare then you can take it you are in London. But you are not. You are in a suburb of Shanghai. We mentioned this development on October 9 last year and again on November 8. A fish and chip shop in Lyme Regis, England, was going to sue for plagiarism. As far as is known, it did not happen.
For this is not an exact replica of England. Rather, this suburb of Shanghai, looking for an unique selling proposition, has sort of, in a way, styled itself after a London riverside town. Anyone going there and actually thinking they were in London has probably forgotten to take the tablets.
This is all part of a move by real estate developers to give their properties an extra something.
In Nanjing, there are Balinese retreats and Italian villas. In the southeastern city of Hangzhou, there are Venice (shown in our illustration) and Zurich. In downtown Beijing, everything is about Manhattan, with Soho, Central Park and Park Avenue. It is not known if anything is based on a town in Wales. Seems unlikely.
Tino Wan, a manager of ERA Real Estate in Shanghai summed it up when he said, ‘Many people in China today associate the exotic with wealth. They buy into these developments to differentiate themselves from ordinary people.’ Not because they know the words of ‘Maybe it’s because I am a Londoner’.
This is a start of a major trend. Shanghai may soon have German, Czech, Spanish and Scandanavian districts although thinking on how they will be differentiated boggles the mind.
Between now and 2015, about half the world’s new construction will take place in China and some of it, as was can see, will be very strange.
In Xiaoshan, billboards almost feature Thomas Jefferson’s famous words:
‘All Men Are Created Equal, They Have Unalienable Rights. In GoyaArt Every Household 100% Can View the QianTang River.’
Yes, Jefferson WOULD have set that, had he but known.
John Lu, a real estate agent with ERA, put it all into perspective. He said: ‘Ninety-nine of 100 Chinese will tell you they don’t know Italian from Spanish from French. They just know it costs a lot and it’s different — so it’s good.’
Source: Washington Post