The Ghost City Phenomenon

Ian Smith
Vice President, Special Projects
thyssenkrupp, Hong Kong

This presentation explained how highly fueled economic growth and large-scale construction projects in a number of countries, particularly China, have created the phenomenon of "Ghost Cities," which have risen up as largely unoccupied cities. It covered the reasons behind this phenomenon, included examples, and today’s outcomes for these ready built but deserted cities.

“…Nearly a year ago, I visited a replica of New York City under construction outside the Northern Chinese city of Tianjin. Workers were constructing dozens of skyscrapers on a piece of swampland inside a bend in the river, giving it an uncanny resemblance to the island of Manhattan. There were plans for a Lincoln Center, a Rockefeller Center, and much more." Lin Lixue, a salesman for one of the developers, was beside himself. “Our goal is to create the world’s largest financial center, right here, within ten years!” Lin told me. “We’re building skyscrapers, we’ve got China’s largest high-speed railway station coming soon, we’re building a tunnel under the sea, and we’ll soon build several subway lines.” A year later, construction on this city, named Yujiapu, has all but ground to a halt. Investors have pulled out, and now a cluster of skyscrapers sit unfinished.

Accompanying PowerPoint Presentation

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