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Beijing and Shanghai

Places of Change and Contradiction
Christine Saum, October 1, 2008

When the 2007–2008 class of Loeb Fellows from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design met for the first time in May 2007 to discuss options for the study trip that would conclude a year at Harvard the following spring, we quickly agreed on a number of criteria. We were looking for a place where change was happening now; a place where a visit five years before or hence would be a different experience; a place dealing with significant environmental, transportation, and housing challenges; a place looking for ways to preserve some of its past while moving into the future; and a place where it was possible to see the role that outside designers and consultants were playing. Most of all, the Loeb Fellows were looking for a place where they could be inspired by the leadership and vision they would experience. China quickly moved to the top of the list of places to be considered.