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Cities of the World [One Image per Post]

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Photo by Mark Matson for The Austin-American Statesman, "Changes at the Top:  A high-rise building boom is reshaping Austin's skyline.  But how will we like the new look?"

I'll be honest, I think most of it is boring.  Admittedly, this photo came from 2003, and quite a few new towering skyscrapers have been added, but the new additions are not actually all that different stylistically from what we see here:  non-descript, could-be-anywhere-USA, stacked-suburban-strip-mall architecture.  I read somewhere that while Austin's downtown had crossed a real estate threshold that is spurring tower construction, the margins are still tight enough for what is still a relatively small city that most buildings cannot afford to be too stylistically expressive or adventurous.  The conspicuous Frost Bank Tower is a rare exception, and its quirkily proportioned crown has been likened to everything from owls' heads to giant nose hair clippers.  I never thought I would find the pink granite ziggurat tiers of the older One Congress Plaza (in the center of the photo) to be handsome.

Neighboring San Antonio is following in a similar vein with its mushrooming of newly built or under-construction downtown apartment complexes.  I'm all for moving people back into the downtown inner ring and into as crisply modern a style of loft building as we might like, but there is something flat and lacking about many of the buildings actually being built or proposed.  The ground level streetscapes seem wrong...they don't look mixed-use or open on the ground floors, they look like mega-buildings trying too hard to look like collective blocks of smaller buildings, they need wrap-around or wall-to-wall sidewalk canopies, and they need complete tree lines.  Otherwise, we will get the architecture of the suburban pods plopped into our downtown.  If we are going to plop, then plop down these wall-to-wall, and you can do each one in any architectural style you want so long as the key ground floor and streetscape elements are in place.  Granted, that last is a rehabilitated, luxury infill, and perhaps having just crossed the threshold to make near downtown residential buildings worthwhile, the margins are probably still to small to not do it on the mega-complex scale.


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Seattle, Washington again.

Although it may be known very well in North America as a tech hub, liberal hot spot, the home of Starbucks, and as one of the coolest places for Millennials in the US, the city isn't very well known outside North America unless it involves technology or geology. People often underestimate Seattle's (relatively) unique inner-city architecture, and even the city's heavily forested outer-suburbs, which is saying something considering other big cities on the West Coast like Vancouver and Los Angeles don't really have super-unique skylines.


(Note that in the picture below sometime turned down the highlights to make the mountain look more visible, so the clouds look kind of weird.



Seattle is also famous for being a very cloudy and rainy city, and even though Seattle has a lot of rainy days, the rain falls very "lightly" so the actual amount of rainfall will never really add up high unless you go to the mountains, therefore it is not at all a good home for storm chasers or weather buffs.

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Zürich, Switzerland

With relatives leaving nearby, and me having visited here and the surrounding area many times, I must say Zürich is one of my favourite cities. It has beautiful architecture and a wonderful setting, and is perfect for a transport nerd like me. :D 

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Qingdao, People's Republic of China


Formerly the German concession of Tsingtau, hence the colonial architecture loosely based on pre-WWI Mitteleuropa in the older city as seen in the lone yellow church in the image above, and the continuing popularity of red-tiled roofs even in the newer city.  Thanks to the Germans, this is also the birthplace of Tsingtao Beer.  Like other Chinese cities, newer mass development comes at a mind-numbing scale.

The Taiwanese romantic drama "Silence"《深情密碼》("Shēn Qíng Mì Mǎ") was partially set in Qingdao with the subplot of a cynical real estate corporation plotting from its evil office skyscraper to squeeze out the orphaned residents of a colonial-era courtyard block so that it could be demolished and redeveloped into a modern megamall.  Amidst all the twisting drama we get an interesting virtual tour around romantic Qingdao, from the glitzy towers of New China to the nostalgic hills of the former German concession and even the city's popular beaches.  The show's pretty scenery also included actor Vic Chou as the ruthlessly romantic corporate vice president...squeal Zai Zai, waah Qi Wei Yi, wo ai ni :wub:


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On 24/8/2016 at 8:43 AM, Odainsaker said:

Formerly the German concession of Tsingtau, hence the colonial architecture loosely based on pre-WWI Mitteleuropa in the older city as seen in the lone yellow church in the image above, and the continuing popularity of red-tiled roofs even in the newer city.  Thanks to the Germans, this is also the birthplace of Tsingtao Beer.  Like other Chinese cities, newer mass development comes at a mind-numbing scale.

Well, it is clear I never stop learning new stuff here at ST... Tried that beer, quite an OK one to be brewed in Asia!

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Just another Tokyo pic...


Sexy Skytree by aquanuke at HDR Photography.

We can also see Asakusa Station, Asahi Beer froth and squirt, and the Asakusa Information Center.  The police box with the traditional roof at the intersection seems so cute.


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I must say I was stunned by the first post! Because that's where I was born and currently live in! (And didn't know there were people out there that considered our cityscape a gem! Wait until you drive in the city :lol:)

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Hiroshima, Japan.

The restored composite photo at the top from the Dōmei News Agency shows Hiroshima's ruins just days after the atomic bombing as seen from the tallest surviving building of the city's urban center.  The modern-day panorama from Kyōdō News was taken from above the same spot as the Dōmei shot.  Ground Zero is behind the camera and viewer, while Hiroshima Castle is just beyond the left edge of the panorama.

The Japan Times offers a much larger 3917x2345 pixel zoom of this image, which went on display last year in the Tokyo International Forum.


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New Orleans, Louisiana


I took this photo looking down Royal Street at the corner of Governor Nichols. It's so visually and spatially unique compared to most other Southern cities. 

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Qingdao, People's Republic of China


I found this image while looking to fix the broken link photo in my previous post of this city.  Drone imagery as April fog rolls in from Fushan Bay, photographed by Lú Huī (卢晖) and provided by the Xinhua News Agency.  The Fujian Daily's Dōngnán Network has a fog scenery page with other photos in this series that could easily have been right taken out of the science-fiction film "Blade Runner."


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