By now, we’re all pretty used to the idea that most cities have spent the past century sprouting giant glass and steel structures – but we still respond with a degree of amazement when faced with the actual speed of transformation in cities over very short periods of time. Where did the money come from? How was there enough concrete? Were there animals that had a particularly long nap and woke up to find their homes tarmacked over?
We can’t answer all these questions – but what we can do is offer the following gifs of enormously tall buildings appearing, as if by magic, on bits of marshland and desert. Enjoy.
By 1990, international companies were clamouring for office blocks in Shanghai as China’s economy took off, but the city was already pretty full. So the city concreted over a swathe of marshy land and houses across the Huangpu River, and packed the resulting district, Pudong, full of oddly-shaped skyscrapers: