In the heart of Monoglia there is a place called Ordos, which is in fact the largest Chinese “ghost town”. This abandoned city hosts office towers, administrative centers, government buildings, museums, theaters and sports fields. Professional Photographer Raphael Olivier did a real good job at capturing these surreal cityscape, empty streets and abandoned buildings. The district was originally designed to house, support and entertain 1 million people yet hardly anyone lives there.
The town of Ordos in Inner Mongolia is claimed as one of the wealthiest regions in China tanks to its huge reserves of coal and natural gas. The new Kangbashi district in Ordos was built with plenty of office buildings, administrative centers, government buildings, museums, theaters, stadiums as well as villas. Although the region was planned to build as a prosperous and modern boom town for one million residents, it is mostly uninhabited.
Some people believe that Kangbashi is a super-modern megalomaniac's dream. Many others called it the most modern ghost town in China .
The core reason why the town is empty seems to relate to a planning issue. The new town is 25 kilometers from the old town, which has discouraged people from moving. Let’s visit this unique town through photos as follows:
Built in just five years, Kangbashi was designed to be home to 1.5 million residents, but hardly anyone lives there
It is so lonely here." width="480" height="317" />
The image of empty streets. It is so lonely here
Although the city government was moved to Kangbashi four years ago with thousands of houses and dozens of office buildings, the Ordos’ extravagant new central district is totally deserted
Two workers try to make a public library clean. The 12-square-mile area ha been called as a “ghost town ” by the state-run newspaper China Daily
Workers try to complete their work at the Ordos museum, which is still under construction
Houses and streets with no people
Ordos has one-sixth of all China’s coal reserves and one-third of the country’s natural gas reserves. Therefore, Ordos boasts itself as the second richest city in China, behind Shanghai in terms of per capita income.
A pedestrian walks through the downtown, where most shops haven’t been opened
Construction projects around the town continue being deployed although it is uninhabited
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It’s been called the Dubai of northern China, showered with wealth, packed with public infrastructure and located near to precious natural resources in a region plagued by water-supply troubles. But the urban center of Ordos City, known as ‘Kangbashi New Area’, has been mostly deserted for five years. Kangbashi isn’t a ghost town due to economic issues, contamination or any other common cause of such abandonment – the government simply can’t convince people to move there.
Built for 1 million people and currently inhabited by just a few thousand (despite a government claim of 28,000 residents, who are more likely just commuting workers), Kangbashi is filled with brand new buildings. One apartment building after another perches on the edge of streets that rarely see traffic, skyscrapers stand empty and over $5 billion worth of public buildings are unused and unstaffed.
One notable architectural project, the Ordos Art Museum, was the first structure to go up in the new civic center. Its ethereal location on a stretch of sand dunes along a lake makes it all the more visually striking. But this 29,000-square-foot exhibition and research space is just accumulating dust until the city’s hoped-for residents move in.
Even now, construction on Kangbashi homes, businesses and public buildings still continues. City officials are confident that it’s just a matter of time before many of the 1.5 million residents of Ordos proper, who live 15 miles away in the old section of town, see the light. The Ordos city government has already moved its offices there, but that’s the extent of life in the new town.
“It’s pretty lonely here,” Li Li, the marketing manager of an elegant restaurant in Kangbashi’s mostly vacant Lido Hotel, told The New York Times. “Most of the people who come to our restaurant are government officials and their guests. There aren’t any common residents around here.”
Kangbashi’s local economy should be flourishing, given its close proximity to abundant natural resources like natural gas and coal. As in much of the rest of China, real estate in Ordos is booming, and the apartments in Kangbashi aren’t empty for lack of buyers.
Investors have snapped up nearly every available residence, confident that they’ll eventually see a big return. But it’s exactly this activity that has analysts worried about a speculative real estate bubble that will inevitably see a painful pop.
On Google Maps, you can explore the vacant city’s complex layout, intricate landscaping and wealth of public spaces like parks, swimming pools and a massive town square. The land is still raw in many areas as construction marches on, and what few cars can be seen are clustered around government buildings. New highways cut into sparsely populated countryside.
So why don’t people want to live here, in a sparkling state-of-the-art city filled with modern architecture? Mostly, for now, moving to Kangbashi is an inconvenience. The new district is a thirty-minute drive from the old district where the bulk of Ordos residents still live, and the slow pace of relocation has stalled important supporting services like restaurants and markets.
It may seem like a bizarre folly on behalf of the Chinese government, borne of severely misplaced optimism. But Ordos is indeed expanding at a rapid pace, home to a growing number of coal millionaires and producing China’s highest gross domestic product per capita. And pouring money into such new urban areas is part of a plan by China’s government to increase its middle class, benefiting the nation’s economy as a whole. Despite the current eerie silence of its streets, it’s probably safe to say that Kangbashi won’t be empty for long.Share this Article: See More in Architecture (or: Abandoned Places )
In recent years, real estate development had spurred growth in many countries of the world. However, the mirage ended with the bursting of the real estate bubble. Nothing seemed to stop the bankruptcy of real-estate developers and promoters who had embarked upon extensive projects funded by bank loans. On other hand, many houses holds who had taken loans to buy homes collapsed. This resulted in many new unfinished cities and thousands of vacant apartments at a time when banks are more reluctant than ever to give credit. From California to Inner Mongolia, discover these new ghost towns.
Sandyford, near Dublin is one of these new ghost towns.1. The New Seseña, near Madrid, Spain
Forty kilometers south of Madrid, “The New Seseña” is an example of the collapse of the Spanish property market. It also symbolizes the megalomania of its promoter, Francisco Hernando. In 2008, ruined by the crisis, he was forced to stop the construction of 13 500 apartments which he had named “The New Seseña”. Only 3,500 homes were completed and found no buyers.
The New Sesena, thousands of homes remain incomplete2. Kangbashi’s, the most famous ghost town of China
Designed as an extension of the city of Ordos in inner Mongolia, Kangbashi is the most famous ghost town of China. As a result of rush to develop the coal mining industry in the 1990s, the city of Ordos saw great expansion. On the website of the city, the authorities announced that the district Kangbashi will host new political, cultural, economic, scientific and educational institutions. But the high prices of homes discourages potential buyers. The city was constructed to house about one million people but only 30,000 have arrived in Kangbashi. Many buildings remain unfinished and the unsold apartments buildings surround the Genghis Khan square.
Kangbashi, China, only 30000 live in a city for 1 million people3. Kilamba, the ghost town built by China in Angola
Located thirty kilometers from Luanda, the Angolan capital, the new city of Kilamba owes its existence to the China International Trust and Investment Corporation (CITIC). According to the BBC, the site has cost $ 3.5 million to the company. The china did this investment as it was interested in Angolan oil.
Designed to accommodate over half a million inhabitants, the city covers 5000 hectares. The city has become a ghost town as few Angolans can afford high prices of apartments ranging from 120 000 to 200 000 dollars. In fact, two thirds of them live on less than $ 2 a day.
This is a view of Kilamba screenshot made from a BBC documentary.4.Valdeluz, a Spanish city deserted four years after its construction
Located in the province of Guadalajara, the city was designed to accommodate more than 30,000 people. The proximity to Madrid, which is about sixty miles north, was one of the main attractions of this urban complex whose construction began in 2004. However, till 2011 only 1200 people live there. A shopping center of 900 m2 was built in the city to give it a new life.
The real estate development of Valdeluz was stopped in 2008.5. Stockton, California
The city of Stockton is called the “City of foreclosures” by the American Press. The bursting of the real estate bubble has precipitated in the decline of Stockton, which now has a record number of foreclosures. According to the Huffington Post, in 2010, one in ten houses suffered foreclosure. Now deserted, the city filed for bankruptcy in June 2012.
In 2010, one in ten houses in Stockton suffered foreclosure.6. Keshcarrigan, a ghost town in Ireland
Before the economic crisis, Keshcarrigan city had embarked on major real estate development projects. However, with crisis many developers left the buildings in this small village in Leitrim County unfinished. Overall, in Ireland, the number of deserted houses has sky rocketed. In October 2010, according to a report by the Ministry of Environment, there are 33,000 vacant housing across the country.
Keshcarrigan, Ireland, many buildings remained unfinished.7. Detroit, the ghost “Motor City”
Once viewed as the birthplace of the American automobile industry, the city is now facing the decline of the industry. In August 2012, the unemployment in the city reached 19.6%. In this context, it is not surprising that workers are leaving the city. Despite a relatively low price per square meter, homes do not attract the interest of potential buyers. According to RealtyTrac, which lists foreclosures houses, in 2012 more than 5,000 house holds could not finish paying debts and 263 homes are about to be confiscated.
The Gost Motor City of Detroit8. Galway, the ghost county in Ireland
Like Spain, Ireland has not been spared the adverse effects caused by the bursting of the housing bubble. Located in the province of Connacht, County Galway, the city covers 6148 square kilometers. Since late 2007, the property prices there fell by almost 45%.
Now, the desertion of some neighbourhoods gives this area the look of ghost county. The desertion of buildings is not without public safety problems. In February, a two year old child was killed by falling into a ravine in Athlone, a ghost town in the Midlands. A news story that sparked national outrage.
Since late 2007, property prices have fallen by nearly 45% in County Galway.9. Dantu, the Chinese city half empty
In China, new cities have increased in recent years. However, most of them turned into ghost towns just after their completion. This is the case of Dantu district, in the province of Zhenjiang. Many of the city streets have never been inhabited.
The nationwide sheer number of deserted houses is alarming. A report published in 2010 by the Chinese State Grid Corporation, the largest state electricity supplier, states that there are about 65 million empty houses in China. In Zhengzhou, colossal industrial buildings sprang up but were never used.
Dantu, most streets are deserted
The once flush-with-cash town of Ordos, China, has been called the world's largest ghost town.
Roughly 15 years ago, a coal-mining boom led local government to throw money at urban development there, in the hopes of creating a new epicenter of culture, economy, and politics.
Ordos New Town — also known as Kangbashi — would hold 1 million residents and be known for its massive conceptual-architecture projects, residential towers, and state-of-the-art sports venues.
But high property taxes and poor construction deterred people from settling in Ordos. Today, though some 100,000 people call it home. most of the city sits unused, wasting away.
"The whole city feels like a post-apocalyptic space station straight out of a science fiction movie," says photographer Raphael Olivier, who captured the city in a series titled, "Ordos - A Failed Utopia."
Olivier shared some of his spectacular images with Tech Insider. You can check out more on his website.View As: One Page Slides Located in the remote province of Inner Mongolia, Ordos sits on one-sixth of China's coal reserves — making it an attractive center for development.
In the late '90s and early 2000s, private mining companies got the rights to dig into those deposits. The influx of new business generated lots of tax revenue.
Vehicles work at an open-pit coal mine near Ordos in November 2015."The local government decided to build this overly ambitious city from scratch," Olivier says. In 2005, it began investing hundreds of millions into infrastructure and real estate.
But by 2010, an abundance of housing in a nonexistent market led the bubble to burst. High property taxes turned off families from moving to Ordos, according to Olivier.
Plus, Ordos New Town rose up just a few miles from the "old city" of Ordos, a thriving provincial town. "People just didn't see the point of moving," Olivier says.
"In the end, only government officials and migrant construction workers effectively settled in," Olivier says, "leaving the vast majority of the city completely empty."
As many as 90% of the apartment units sat vacant as of 2010.
Ordos remains the shell of a futuristic city.
Tourists and journalists have flocked there to document its mesmerizing architecture — and eeriness.
Two horse statues preside over Genghis Khan Plaza at the town's center. Horses are the city's adopted symbol, and they represent nomadic culture.
The nearby Ordos Art & City Museum "seems like it has landed on the earth," according to a statement by the architect, MAD Architects.
The Ordos Dongsheng Stadium fits 35,000 spectators, though it hasn't ever been filled to capacity.
This abandoned villa is part of the Ordos 100 project, an initiative that invited 100 architects to design a village of 1,000-square-meter homes.
Pressure to build fast and cheap left a number of structures dilapidated shortly after their construction. Many buildings appear unfinished.
In the last few years, local government has made efforts to recruit residents. Farmers were bribed with "generous compensation and free apartments" to make the move.
Government offices were relocated from a district 20 miles north of Ordos, which enticed public officials to settle closer to work.
High schools with good reputations were moved to Ordos, as well. Empty apartment buildings were converted into dormitories and now house students.
As a result of these efforts, the Ordos population soared to 100,000. However, it's difficult to nail down accurate census data. Some speculate the government hides the numbers to cover up its urban-planning disaster.
Still, Ordos isn't close to meeting its capacity.
Olivier attributes the government's "build it and the people will come" attitude for the city's spectacular failure. It represents a pervasive problem in China, where officials hope to more than double the country's urban population by 2020.
Cities like Ordos spring from rural areas to accommodate the masses. But the masses don't always come. "This phenomenon is really a cancer for the development of this country," Olivier says, "and a serious threat to [the] Chinese economy."