Shanghai's Insane, 26-Year Transformation Summed Up In Two Photos

What happens when you give Shanghai's financial district 26 years and a few billion dollars of makeover money? This miraculous transformation, which hit a staggering 2,073-feet-high just this past Saturday when the Shanghai Tower became the world's second tallest building.

This first photo of Pudong, which is just east of the Huangpu river, was taken in 1987 and shows what's barely recognizable as a city. You can see clear across to the horizon over a land that's still speckled with patches of green.

Shanghai's Insane, 26-Year Transformation Summed Up In Two Photos

The second photo, taken just last week and from exactly the same location, tells a very different story. Though plans to develop Shanghai's "Pudong New Area" into a "Special Economic Zone" were only launched by the Communist Party in 1990, a short amount of time was all the city's financial district needed to become an area steeped in towering, steel-coated futurism.

Shanghai's Insane, 26-Year Transformation Summed Up In Two Photos

This area is now the proud home of Shanghai Tower, the world's second tallest building, which was just completed this past Saturday. But China isn't done yet—they have every intention of taking the number one spot, too, with a planned 2,749-foot "Sky City" that would outrank the current champion, Dubai's Burj Khalifa, by a full 33 feet.

Regardless of whether or not they succeed in that particular goal, these photos prove that Shanghai has done just fine in securing itself as one of the World's great cosmopolitan cities. [The Telegraph]