| BUILDING BURDEN: The Shanghai skyline
Beijing, Oct. 7: Shanghai authorities are to limit the rate at which some of the world’s tallest buildings are being built after the sheer weight of the skyscrapers was found to be causing the city to sink into the sea.
The newly revived city, the centre of China’s booming economy, is already struggling to shrug off corruption scandals and power shortages associated with the pace of its development.
Now it has been found to have subsided more than an inch last year alone, according to geologists. The average in recent years has been three-fifths of an inch.
Although most of the blame rests with over-exploitation of underground water supplies, the added weight of too many highrises was also a significant factor, a report by the Shanghai Geological Research Institute found.
Two of the 10 tallest buildings in the world are in the city, which will now decide how to limit the height and number of new buildings, said Jiang Lan, a municipal spokesman.
In little over a decade, Shanghai has shed its image as a stronghold of stultifying communist ideology to become the fastest growing major city in the fastest growing economy in the world.
Its development was ordered by the late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, who wanted Shanghai to resume its place as the leading entrepot of the east, a position it occupied before the communist takeover, and symbolically to remove the last vestiges of hardline Maoism espoused by the Gang of Four, whose power base was in the city.
A new generation of Shanghai city bosses, many of whom have gone on to occupy the country’s highest positions, enthusiastically carried out his orders.
As well as hyperactive manufacturing, shipping and real estate industries, the city now has 3,000 highrise buildings of more than 18 storeys.