A Force Of Nature

In 1999, officials in the city of Zhongshan decided to tear down a shipyard and replace it with a park. The city, situated across the mouth of the Pearl River from Hong Kong, has a tradition of putting its wealth to good civic use: its tidy streets are adorned with banks of flowers and well-manicured trees, and it has racked up model-city awards from Beijing and the United Nations. But these shiny credentials presented a dilemma for local leaderstheir political promotion would depend in part on outdoing their predecessors, and Zhongshan didn't leave much room for improvement. So when the Yuezhong...

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