A Complex City


Shenyang is a complex city. While the population is over 8.2 million (and growing) and the subway lines are increasing from two to five by the end of the year, the city is still wildly known for its spacious parks and rich Qing Dynasty era history.

During the past decades of economic development and social reform, Shenyang kept up with the civilian needs. There was enough food, clothes, work and housing for all. In fact, a lot of the regimented block-style housing from the Mao years, still exists in most of Shenyang. From downtown to the outskirts of the city limits, the apartments are completely identical! Furthermore, while the infrastructure is starting to look worn, the high rises are steadily coming. Big buildings are as far as the eye can see and stretch up high into the air. These buildings reminds me of New York City and its landmark skyscraper ascetic.

The complexity continues. For instance, although 30 percent of Shenyang’s air pollution comes from the use of coal for hydronic district heating, the city has been praised for their 40% greening ratio. In fact, in 2005 they were awarded the national forest city title for their ambitious environmental efforts and focus on green space.

How are the people of Shenyang dealing with these complexities you may ask? Well, now it’s time to dive deeper into the field note.