This past week I have been in Wuhan, the political, economic, cultural, transportation a land educational center of China. Like it’s US American sister cities Pittsburgh and St Louis, once upon an early industrial time, Wuhan thrived and sparkled and offered developmental opportunities that paradoxically challenged and reinforced coastal hegemonies, in New York and Shanghai, respectively.
Wuhan also faces the challenge of restructuring its heavy industrial economy, even as young people migrate to coastal cities for more contemporary opportunities. In Shenzhen I know many Wuhan people involved in the City’s creative industries. In point of fact, Wuhan has more college students than any other city on the planet, which is to say the city grooms talent that leaves for elsewhere, carrying dreams and solid heartland values in suitcases that fuel coastal growth.
I moseyed around two of Wuhan’s historic areas, one famous the other not so. Hankou boasts colonial architecture and a formerly robust mercantile history. Tanhualin in Wuchang was long ago the site of a Buddhist temple and later the location of Christian missions, including churches, schools and a hospital. Impressions of ongoing historic convergence, below.
How uses of buildings change – love the stairs