Chongqing is one of the largest, fastest growing cities in the world. The giant municipality has a population that now exceeds that of Canada or Poland, four times the size of London or New York.
The focal point of the country’s westward push (the “Great Western Development Strategy”), Chongqing has grown with such speed that it more resembles a cluster of coalesced cities than a single destination, a vast organism held together by the long veins of its transport infrastructure.
Buildings appear to haphazardly emerge and collide, burying beneath their foundations a graveyard of the past.
Pockets of farmland survive in the unlikeliest of places: on the embankment beside a modern suspension bridge, or in the shadows of a vast concrete overpass, where a handful of locals still cling to an agrarian life.
Hidden behind a nondescript door set back from the street, a wooden-beamed teahouse provides a cocoon from this new world, endless refills lazily sipped over long games of xiangqi.
As the sun wanes, a lifetime resident recalls: “When I was a child, all of Chongqing was like this”, gesturing towards the ancient town of Ciqikou, where a handful of old streets are preserved. Outside, a shower of autumn leaves begins to fall.