Friday, October 29, 2010

Another ghost town for your Halloween pleasure...if you're celebrating Halloween in China

Here in the United States, it's almost time for people to get into unnatural costumes, knock on your door, and ask for something.

Yes, it's almost time for the U.S. mid-term elections. But it's also just about time for Halloween.

This is the time of year that we think about ghost towns - places that were formerly inhabited, but are now desolate (and, in the thinking of the season, occupied by the dead that formerly lived there). Sometimes the places aren't so barren - I've previously discussed a situation here in the Inland Empire of California (see this September 2008 post in my Empoprise-IE Inland Empire blog) in which outlying suburban/exurban areas alternate between boom and bust, with shopping centers being nearly abandoned when the economy turns sour.

This issue is not confined to North America or Europe. The New York Times describes a new area in a Chinese city that is completely empty:

Ordos proper has 1.5 million residents. But the tomorrowland version of Ordos — built from scratch on a huge plot of empty land 15 miles south of the old city — is all but deserted.

Broad boulevards are unimpeded by traffic in the new district, called Kangbashi New Area. Office buildings stand vacant. Pedestrians are in short supply. And weeds are beginning to sprout up in luxury villa developments that are devoid of residents.

View Larger Map

So what happened?

City leaders, cheered on by aggressive developers, had hoped to turn Ordos into a Chinese version of Dubai — transforming vast plots of the arid, Mongolian steppe into a thriving metropolis.

However, it didn't happen, and I'm sure that some of the more traditional Chinese are deriding the evil capitalistic practices:

As China’s roaring economy fuels a wild construction boom around the country, critics cite places like Kangbashi as proof of a speculative real estate bubble they warn will eventually pop — sending shock waves through the banking system of a country that for the last two years has been the prime engine of global growth.

Hmm...speculative real estate, aggressive lending practices...what could go wrong?
blog comments powered by Disqus