Monday, August 25, 2014

Ordos, China: The world's largest ghost town

Kangbashi New Area, part of Ordos City in the Chinese Inner Mongolia, was built in 2004 to house 300,000 people. It was part of an ambitious plan to create a glitzy, state-of-the-art commercial and residential zone that would house affluent citizens. 17 billion yuan were spent to transform the area into a  postmodern metropolis with spaceship-like government towers, Dubai-style skyscrapers, museums, libraries, theaters, sculpture squares and luxury bungalows.

However, only about 2% of the buildings were filled. High home prices were blamed for keeping prospective buyers away. Today about 20,000-30,000 people live in the city which has population density of 469 people per square kilometer, which is less than 5% of the average for Chinese small cities. As the city remained virtually empty, prices fell from $1,100 per square foot in 2006 to $470 a square foot in December 2011 but that wasn't enough to attract new buyers. 

Today, most of residents of the district are government employees who bought their houses with a discount of 50% or more. The remaining houses were bought by coal tycoons who then chose to live elsewhere.


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