Kunshan, Jiangsu, China | 1

M. James Thompson

One Fine Adventure

Over the next week I will release a series of photographs from my visit to Kunshan, Jiangsu, China. The city is in the growth period that will allow the city to go from a successful small city to a powerhouse in Jiangsu Province. It is a model city for future Chinese cities.

The city of Kunshan is, for it’s size, one of the most prosperous and forward thinking cities in China. It has won numerous awards for the cities infrastructure, human rights, education and overall cleanliness. Duke University along with Wuhan University are opening a joint university in Kunshan that is sure to elevate the quality of education into the realm of larger and more well known Chinese cities. I first noticed the city during a trip to Shanghai, it is located between Suzhou and Shanghai, and it was the relatively flat landscape below the elevated Kunshan Railway Station that caught my attention. The city does not sprawl in all directions like most other Chinese city, but instead it appears to have sprouted from the railway station and propagate north. The buildings spring from the ground in ever increasing heights in an impressive display of preparedness that seems to be lacking in most cities.

The amount of construction going on in Kunshan is not unusual for a Chinese. Business is booming, but the cleanliness of the construction sites, the walls that contain the sites, and the streets adjacent all appear to be kept up in a way that would not look unusual in a western city like Chicago. This bit of extra care is very out of place in China. Many of the construction sites that I have seen are noticeably aging with no clear line between the construction site and the pedestrian walkways. The sidewalks are in good shape and the roads are all marked with working stoplights, crosswalks, scooter lanes, covered bus stops, and people seem to actually use the lanes correctly. Any one of these attributes by themselves in other cities would not be out of the ordinary, but to see all of the amenities in good working order and being utilized by the citizenry is a comfortable feeling.

I spent a good portion of the day walking through Kunshan to observe the high-rise neighborhoods, both under construction and completed, and the walk was one of the most enjoyable strolls that I have taken while in China. White faces are generally, strictly as a matter of fact, allowed more liberties than most other people and I was allowed to walk through gated communities without so much as a second look. Many of the areas that I went through felt comfortable and the people that I met along the way were incredibly friendly.

To see the rest of the gallery and more images from around the world please visit M. James Thompson Photography

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