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This should be the first of many. Many. The theme is simple: parking is hardly enforced in Shenzhen (and i most Chinese cities). Traffic regulations are only enforced during periods of crackdowns and through methods that do not involve the police actually being on the street watching out for traffic violations. That is, if a red light camera or speed radar/camera can’t capture the violation, it does not get enforced. This means that the city does not capture valuable revenue. (New York city had US$ 600 million in parking fines alone and it was the only type of city fine that was cost effective for the city to collect.) And it means that the variable cost of driving is way, way underpriced in Shenzhen. Driving is then subsidized at the expense of biking and walking–actually to the danger of the biker and pedestrian as many of the photos will make evident.

Some photos show the sidewalk along a the Exhibition Center becomes a parking lot–notice that the cars get the shade. The Mangrove preserve Hongshulin gets destroyed with cars a parking on the grass, not to mention cars parking along the highway–a road not safe for street side park. Other photos show fairly typical neighborhoods with cars parking on the sidewalk forcing pedestrians onto the street or parking at the corners of sidewalks. The second to last photo shows that it is not enough to park illegally, they must also double park.

The last photo shows a car basically blocking a small street in Blocks 22-23 of the new CBD. SOM created the urban design for Blocks 22-23 and did a fairly good job. Unfortunately the design was compromised at construction time with many concessions to the car.

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The article is here. The American Society of Landscape Architects, has a blog that links to the article and comments from some of the  landscape architects:

“Think about trying to create a scaled, interesting park space underneath a 30 foot  high elevated 10-lane highway. It will take an extremely creative design team to pull this off.

Additionally, will roads be allowed to cut underneath the building? With the footprint being so linear, are the developers setting up a “superblock” or “radiant city” scenerio, where streetscapes and human scaled elements dominate rather than vast expanses of park land?”