China Ghost Cities

ghstctsIn China there are hundreds of cities that have been built, but which lack people.

These are the ghost cities of China.

Westerners believe these cities to be some kind of Chinese folly, but as Wade Shepard, author of the book `Ghost Cities if China’ discovered, these cities are a perfect example of forward planning, and will become flourishing cities of the future.

Wade has studied these cities, and has also visited many of them.  He says that the ghost cities do have a purpose, and will eventually house people, but that it is easier to build a city if no one is actually living in it during construction.

The philosophy behind the construction of these cities is, ultimately, to encourage domestic consumerism.

Presently, China depends too much on foreign trade.  With the Global Financial Crisis affecting China’s markets in the United States and Europe, China’s leaders became wary of depending too much on the West to keep the economy buoyant and wanted to change the emphasis to more reliance on domestic spending so as to give the economy some surety.

The ghost cities will provide a better environment for many urban Chinese who currently live in old, sub-standard accommodation.  The new cities will provide both better accommodation and a much better living environment for prospective residents, hence the reason why so many cities are being built.

These ghost cities do not actually remain very vacant for very long.  Once they do start to become occupied other services, such as schools and hospitals, soon follow, and the cities become quite vibrant indeed.

One perfect example of this in Pudong, across the Huangpu River from Shanghai.  Back in the 1980s, this area was just fields.  Shanghai’s government knew that the city had to expand and modernise in order to remain as a top trading city.  It would have been prohibitively expensive and disruptive to try to re-build Shanghai, so the easiest thing to do was to develop the rural land across the river.

As an experiment, the building of Pudong turned out to be very successful, and so this model of building city on vacant land, and then importing the population became standard procedure in China.

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