Google Earth Used By Netizens To Discuss Urban Planning

For those of you who lived in or been to any major city in China, you must have at one point gotten stuck for hours during the morning commute or being lost within the maze of side streets and intersections. Things apparently don’t look that much better from the bird’s eye view, as curious Chinese netizens shockingly discovered (thanks to Google Earth) that even cities in Africa have seemingly better city planning and layouts than Chinese ones. The crux of the arguments boils down to whether it was truly poor city planning or because that most Chinese cities, like Rome, were not built in one day.

From Mop:

Satellite view of China, our nation’s cities can’t even compare to Africa!

Beijing, from the top corner you can see the Bird Egg (National Theater), this can be considered city center, but the overall planning is not ideal.
Ancient capital of Nanjing, the city seems very messy.
Guangzhou city center, look like geometric shapes that appear on children's drawings.
Shanghai, although flourishing, but it still seem very messy.
Many will not even think that, this is the war-torn capital of Mogadishu in Somalia. Even so it is not a bustling city, but it is still in order.
One of the poorest countries in Africa, the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, the city is planned in an orderly grid fashion.
Washington DC, the level of city layout and green enviroment is without question.
St. Petersburg, a bird's eye view of the beautiful city.
Pyongyang, the city planning is not bad, those who understand military affairs could tell this city's layout is based on the need for urban defense during wars, much like the layout of the city of Moscow.

Comments from Mop:


China have a complex geography and long history, don’t tell me you want to tear down all the culture passed down from ancient times and build anew. Africa itself it is not developed…planning a city on flat terrain can’t be so hard can it?


Although the government is corrupt, especially the Planning Department, causing a mess. But if everything is straight lines up and down, then it will be good? Which teacher taught you that?


LZ do you have mental issues? Chinese buildings and landscapes all conform to fengshui, what’s so good about organized [cities] in foreign countries, yet they are still not developed. Besides you are comparing Africa to China, you must be an online spy!!!


Less people is good, you can plan [out a city] how you want to plan. Cities in America are laid out a lot better than ours, I know just by looking at their state boundaries and our provincial boundaries. Even bustling Areas such as Manhattan in New York are very orderly. London and Paris are not as atypical as New York, but the uniformity of their building are good, besides the commercial district, most building are 3 to 4, 4 to 5 stories tall. From the Satellite map everything looks the same.


Then LZ go to Africa, have a good life, and don’t come back!!


All even and blocky is so unnatural, doesn’t look good.


While seeing many people here are talking about the history of our great and proud country,
then looking at many news of places where in the name of city development (actually just to arrange a piece of land to sell for money), tearing down of historically relevant buildings.
I feel a little sad.


Do you think real cities are all like “Sim City” where you can tear down and rebuild at your leisure? New cities with new planning obviously are even; why not go take a look at new cities such as Shenzhen?

Xian, an example of a ancient Chinese city with even layout.

Comments from NetEase:


Looking at it this way, there indeed is a difference.


Very messy.


Ancient Chinese cities were planned very well; it is just that today’s city planners are too “skilled”, therefore it became like this.


This is called cultural heritage.
Many of our cities have over 1500 years of history, Theirs only 150 years.
Today’s youth are becoming more ignorant. Sign, posting these kind pictures without using their brain first.


LZ must be retarded, how many years of history does America have? How many years of history does China have? Let’s not even talk about Africa. Haven’t you noticed that African cities are even more even than American ones? They are just a blank slate, they can design whatever they want, can this happen in China? Can you tear down the Forbidden City and turn it into a straight road? Do you how many relics are on the grounds of Nanjing? You think just because roads are straight then it is good? Haven’t you seen maps of Africa where it is planned well, their countries look like squares that is because only colonies are drawn this way. Houses 100 years old in America are considered relics; even if you tear down 500 year old houses in China you still can’t have straight streets. Do you have a brain, would you eat shit from foreigners just like you would eat cake?


Many national boundaries in Africa are also straight.

Some posted examples of foreign cities which may not seem so well organized:



Written by Joe

Joe is a documentary producer and journalist based in Shanghai


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