Shanghai morning

Shanghai morning before sunrise with city skyline and colorful sky over Huangpu River.

Shanghai is the largest city by population in the People’s Republic of China and the largest city proper by population in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities of the PRC, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010. It is a global city, with influence in commerce, culture, finance, media, fashion, technology, and transport. It is a major financial center and the busiest container port in the world.

Located in the Yangtze River Delta in East China, Shanghai sits at the mouth of the Yangtze River in the middle portion of the Chinese coast. The municipality borders the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang to the north, south and west, and is bounded to the east by the East China Sea.

Shanghai sits on the Yangtze River Delta on China’s eastern coast, and is roughly equidistant from Beijing and Hong Kong. The municipality as a whole consists of a peninsula between the Yangtze and Hangzhou Bay, mainland China’s second-largest island Chongming, and a number of smaller islands. It is bordered on the north and west by Jiangsu, on the south by Zhejiang, and on the east by the East China Sea. The city proper is bisected by the Huangpu River, a tributary of the Yangtze. The historic center of the city, the Puxi area, is located on the western side of the Huangpu, while the newly developed Pudong, containing the central financial district Lujiazui, was developed on the eastern bank.

Sydney Cove, Australia

Aerial view of skyscrapers and Sydney Cove in Sydney, Australia.

Sydney Cove was named after the British Home Secretary, Thomas Townshend, Lord Sydney. It was the site chosen by Captain Arthur Phillip between 21 and 23 January 1788 for the British penal settlement which is now the city of Sydney, and where possession of New South Wales was formally declared on 26 January (now commemorated as Australia Day). Today, the exact site where the flag was planted is not apparent, as in its place is Circular Quay and Buildings of Sydney CBD. Phillip’s instructions were to establish the settlement at Botany Bay, a large bay (further south of Sydney Cove) down the coast. Botany Bay had been discovered by Lieutenant James Cook during his voyage of discovery in 1770, and was recommended by the eminent botanist Sir Joseph Banks, who had accompanied Cook, as a suitable site for a settlement. But Phillip discovered that Botany Bay offered neither a secure anchorage nor a reliable source of fresh water. Sydney Cove offered both of these, being serviced by a fresh water creek which was soon to be known as Tank Stream.

Today the Tank Stream is encased in a concrete drain beneath the streets of the central business district and all native bushland has been cleared. The head of the cove is occupied by the Circular Quay ferry terminal. On Bennelong Point at the northern end of the eastern shore of the cove stands the Sydney Opera House. On the western shore is the historic district known as The Rocks.

Tourist kneeling on the rooftop

Young tourist kneeling on the rooftop of a skyscraper over a big city.

A skyscraper is a tall, continuously habitable building of many storeys, usually designed for office and commercial use. There is no official definition or height above which a building may be classified as a skyscraper. One common feature of skyscrapers is having a steel framework that supports curtain walls. These curtain walls either bear on the framework below or are possibly suspended from the framework above, rather than load-bearing walls of conventional construction.

Some early skyscrapers have a steel frame that enables the construction of load-bearing walls taller than of those made of reinforced concrete. Modern skyscrapers’ walls are not load-bearing, and most skyscrapers are characterized by large surface areas of windows made possible by the concept of steel frame and curtain walls. However, skyscrapers can have curtain walls that mimic conventional walls and a small surface area of windows.