The Ghost Towns of China
Wanting to boost growth, China built millions of homes to increase investment across the country. Although this target of investment was fulfilled in real estate, the houses remained empty causing whole cities to become deadly silent. This leaves a futuristic, eery feel to the cities and ultimately, means they are pointless in the economy.
According to Lina Batarags, it has been estimated that ‘One-fifth of the homes in China — at least 65 million units — are empty’ showing the sheer extent of deserted housing across the country. Although these cities are modern and full of attractions, they were never inhabited by people. China overestimated the total amount of housing needed and overinvested in what they thought was a safe method.
This unbelievable event gains the attention of many across the globe as to how such a scale of empty housing is created. This over-supply of housing is a product of a miscalculation from the government of the rate of people moving from the countryside to cities. It is also due to the owners of the properties not using them, perhaps leaving them empty for further generations or using them purely as an investment.
The town of Kangbashi in Ordos, the largest ghost town in China, draws the most interest around the world. When it was first created, over a billion dollars was invested in building the modern town full of technology and impressive buildings. However, years later it remains severely uninhabited. Although, according to Raphael Olivier who visited the city, ‘Foreigners consider the city to be abandoned. Chinese consider the city to be still developing’. This shows the difference in understanding of ghost towns in China compared with the rest of the world and leaves us questioning whether they are ongoing projects or failed ones.
The ghost towns of China are those representing a distant world, surreal to visitors. They are a beautiful spectacle but also depict an abandoned city, deprived of life.