Ghost Cities of China: The Story of Cities without People in the World's Most Populated Country (Asian Arguments)

Ghost Cities of China: The Story of Cities without People in the World's Most Populated Country (Asian Arguments)

Wade Shepard

Language: English

Pages: 192

ISBN: 178360218X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Over the next couple of decades, it is estimated that 250 million Chinese citizens will move from rural areas into cities, pushing the country’s urban population over one billion. China has built hundreds of new cities and urban districts over the past thirty years, and hundreds more are set to be built by 2030 as the central government kicks its urbanization initiative into overdrive. As China redraws its map with new cities, it isn't just creating new urban areas, but also engineering a new culture and way of life. Yet, many of these new cities, such as the infamous Kangbashi and Yujiapu, stand nearly empty, construction having ground to a halt due to the loss of investors and colossal debt.

In Ghost Cities of China, Wade Shepard examines this phenomenon up close. He posits that the shedding of traditional social structures in the country is at an advanced stage, and a rootless, consumption-centric globalized culture is rapidly taking its place. Incorporating interviews and on-the-ground investigation, Ghost Cities of China examines China’s under-populated modern cities and the country’s overly ambitious building program.











houses. (Netease, translation by ChinaSmack) In most cases, the Chinese media won’t cover stories about forced demolitions unless there is a major public disturbance or someone is killed. ‘There’s so much demolition. If all the demolitions were reported, maybe there wouldn’t be enough space in all the newspapers, television and radio stations in China’, said Yan Lianke, a well-known Chinese author who recently had his home demolished in Beijing. Forced eviction and property requisition without

swathes of farmland are being re-zoned as urban and the peasants who once lived there are losing their claims to the land in exchange for an urban hukou and a modern apartment. According to Tianjin University, China had 3.7 million villages in 2000, but ten years later that number had dropped to 2.6 million. In a single decade, China lost over a million villages – nearly 300 per day – as the country spirals down towards the agricultural ‘red line’ of 120 million hectares of arable land that must

to be virtually unliveable. It must be remembered that in China’s new cities a lot of space is built in for speculation. Sustained government involvement It would generally be thought that if a municipality were to invest the massive amount of money it takes to build a new district, city or town, it would see the project through to the end. But this is not always the case. A new city is often a local government’s showpiece, which demonstrates the tact and ability of the officials who have built

example, Beijing tried to restrict the use of cars by allowing only odd or even number licence-plated cars to drive on a given day. To circumvent this rule, many people buy two cars with licence plates one even and one odd number.’ The only country in the world that tops China for car ownership is the USA. However, China’s traffic problem is not caused simply by the sheer number of cars. Many of the cities are just not suited to every adult driving their own vehicle. The building of more

her husband-to-be needed to procure a little over RMB86,000 for the downpayment and the bank would take care of the rest. They amassed their savings and put the word out to their friends, who contributed the additional funds. They then took out a bank loan for RMB200,000 at 6.2 per cent interest and bought the new apartment. The standards for qualifying for a home mortgage in China are relatively low. Generally speaking, a borrower’s monthly salary must be at least twice the monthly payment, and

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