The largest controlled detonation in Chinese history is every bit as spectacular as you’d think.
China’s unprecedented economic growth in recent years has been unlike anything the world has seen, due largely to the fact that China was hardly a developing nation when the economic tides rose. Its cities, as densely packed as one would imagine, dictate that growth isn’t just a function of building but also of tearing down the past.
As such, cities have undergone sweeping demolition and redevelopment, but a recent instance in the city of Zhengzhou in Henan province is perhaps the most awesome to date.
A recent demolition effort took months of planning but the crux of the effort — the controlled detonation of 36 buildings using over 5,500 pounds of dynamite — lasted less than 30 seconds.
The demolition of just one building can require clearances from myriad agencies as well as the infrastructure and expense of shutting down city blocks to keep residents safe. To that end, it’s more efficient to demolish many buildings at once, but nothing’s been done at this scale in China before.
That said, previous demolition projects have come close. In January, 19 buildings in the city of Wuhan were taken down in a scant 10 seconds.
New development will always be met with ambivalence by parties with differing interests, but the extraordinary moment of destruction sure is captivating.