China’s German Ghost City

On 20/08/2013 by Site Default

It was a German town, designed by German architects next to a Volkswagen factory on the outskirts of Shanghai. The place had everything: housing, parks, canal-side promenades, benches, fences, shops, roads, town squares, statues, office blocks, even a church, but it lacked the one ingredient that makes a city: humans. My species seemed out of place in our own creation here, I felt like an intruder tramping upon a 1:1 scale Teutonic themed still life. Besides a stray car or motorcycle passing by every five minutes or so and an older guy pushing a baby in a stroller three blocks back, I felt all alone while walking through Anting New Town.

This development was conceived in 2001 as part of the “One City, Nine Towns” project which transformed Shanghai’s suburbs into a contrived menagerie of internationalism. In addition to this German town, Shanghai built British, Swedish, Canadian, Spanish, Italian, American, and Dutch styled suburban districts which give the impression of being a remedy for some kind of post-colonial empty nest syndrome…

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