In late 2009, a number of western media outlets ran reports on the "ghost town" that is Ordos, Inner Mongolia. I put up a blog post about the city at that time. Ordos, a city flush with natural resources and wealth, is a fascinating case study of China's method of development.
Melissa K. Chan from Al Jazeera just visited Ordos this week and has a short video clip on what it's like there now, two years later:
I've written a lot about this sort of growth in the past. Building cities with the hope that one day residents will move is, undoubtedly, a risky move.
When I was in Xi'an this summer, I saw row after row after row of apartment blocks that were finished with only a couple lights on in the entire building at night. While Ordos is the poster child for ghost cities, it's not the only place in China where this is going on.
At this point, I still can't venture a guess as to whether this is all going to work out. My gut tells me that development like what's going on in Ordos is ludicrous. But China has proven me wrong many times before and I wouldn't be shocked, in five years, to see this experiment working out.
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