With a population between 6 and 7 million people, China’s city of Chongqing is by no means its largest (that award goes to the massive urban/suburban sprawl of Guangzhou, with 44 million citizens). But uniquely situated between a mountain range and a river, Chongqing has seen more buildup in a smaller space–making it the most populous city in China.
It also happens to have a cable car running through its heart, and in the video you see above, photographer Tim Franco takes us on a ride right through Chongqing. The landscape is full of paradoxes–it feels both bustling and dead, new and tarnished, and equal parts intimate and distancing to have such an omniscient view of a city so few of us know.
Throughout the video, Franco intersperses shots from 2009 and 2015–creating a somewhat confusing effect where, as a viewer, you can’t tell if low-rise buildings have been built or razed to make room for high-rises. It’s impossible to know. And as a result, you’re left wondering, whatever progress Chongqing is experiencing right now, is the city any better for it?
Franco produced the video to promote his new book Metamorpolis, which you can order for $33 here.