MRED Around the World student Dejan Eskic writes about the group’s last night in Shanghai, China: 

Shanghai is a city that has boomed in the last 15 years. The city consists of two main parts, Puxi (the old Shanghai), and Pudong. What used to be farmland is now home to some of the most expensive real estate and some of the tallest buildings in the world. Shanghai is also home to one of the biggest subway systems in the world, which carries approximately seven million people a day. Without it, the city would not function, and because of it, those living in Shanghai tend to measure distance in minutes rather than miles.

Our day started with a meeting with Brian Diviney from Disney, who are in the process of developing a resort near the Pudong International airport. They see China as the place to be as the Shanghai city government is poised to turn its region not just into a tourist attraction but to a resort destination. It is the only place where land was available to foreigners–hence the boon–and within a day’s travel there are approximately 200 million people that qualify as potential visitors.

Some important things we took away from Brian was that because the government controls everything, it is important to have a great relationship with them. Deals can be close to being made and can just fall through in an instant. He pointed out that this particular project is oriented to relate back to the local Shanghai architecture seen in in the French concession in the Puxi part of Shanghai. He also emphasized the importance of his team, and that having the right architect is such a key part in succeeding in this part of the world since design standards and execution don’t really exist locally. One of the challenges they faced with this project was understanding the Chinese market and what appealed to them.

Our next visit for the day was with Dr. Cui Guangcan, the director of the Real Estate Research Center at Shanghai Normal University. Dr. Guangcan gave us a lecture about real estate industry development in Shanghai, and more specifically affordable housing. In a nutshell, the U.S. policy on this topic is clear as day compared to the Chinese. For example, each time a new residential development is constructed, five percent of it must be constructed as affordable throughout different areas–meaning that the developer has to look for other additional sites to complete this requirement.

Housing in Shanghai has a very intriguing history. The average living space was