Shanghai in 1990 and 2010-1

Last week the Atlantic Cities ran this photo depicting the remarkable transformation of Shanghai’s skyline from 1990 to 2010. Amazingly, this sort of hasty urban development isn’t a one-of-a-kind phenomena. Where there’s rapid economic growth, there’s rapid city growth. Here are of some more impressive examples from around the world.

Dubai: 1991 vs. 2012

Dubai wasn’t much more than a stretch of desert 22 years ago. Today it’s a technologically advanced world-class city home to many of the largest and gaudiest structures on the planet, including the 160-storey Burj Khalifa and the world’s tallest hotel, the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai.

Dubai 1991 Dubai 2012

Shenzhen, China: 1980 vs. 2011

Thirty years ago Shenzhen, China was a collection of tiny villages, home to just a few thousand people. Today there are approximately 13 million people living in the city.

Shenzhen, China then and now

Bangkok, Thailand: 1988 vs. 2007

The Asian investment boom of the 1980s and 1990s prompted many multinational corporations to set up shop in Bangkok, which contributed to the city’s building boom.

Bangkok 1988

Bangkok 2007

Las Vegas, Nevada: 1978 vs. 2008

There wasn’t much in the Nevada dessert until the late-1940s when organized crime figures like Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel and Meyer Lansky began dumping money into the dirt and building large casinos, laying the ground work for modern day Las Vegas.

Las Vegas then and now

Tokyo, Japan: 1969 to 2004

Here’s one of the more entertaining visual representation of Tokyo’s rapid growth: a 35-year time lapse of the Shinjuku skyline, one of 23 special wards that make up the Japanese capital. Enjoy 15 seconds of pure awesome:

What are your favourite examples of rapid urban growth? Let us know in the comment section below or on Twitter and we’ll update our rundown with your suggestions.

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