China’s “ghost cities”: a fever of destruction, construction, and abandonment [5/29]

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Photographer V.T. Polywoda, who maintains the blog Wandering the Blue Marble, writes on Flickr: “The scale and speed of development in China is mind-blowing. … Where I live, apartments that were completed three to four years ago have less than 15% occupancy today. Yet they keep building. In third-tier cities, many people simply can’t afford to buy a new apartment. Yet they keep building. Even after all of the real estate scandals, they keep building. … The scale and speed of construction in central China is both impressive and horrifying. I often wonder, what’s the long-term plan here? What’s the ultimate goal? In an economy underpinned by the use of vanishing and non-renewable resources, where will all of this lead?” This photo was taken in January 2015 in Anyang, China. (Photo: V.T. Polywoda, Flickr)

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Overzealous construction in China has left the country with a large number of empty developments clinging to the outskirts of major cities — a problem that some real estate developers have sought to solve with a bizarre side industry in the rental of Westerners to glamorize the areas and attract visitors. Click here for a short video report on the rent-a-foreigner industry, and click through this slideshow to see some of those “ghost cities” and other evidence of China’s fever of destruction, construction and abandonment.

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