China’s Gleaming Ghost Cities Draw Neither Jobs Nor People

On 26/08/2013 by Site Default

When this small city in northeastern China launched a plan to build a satellite city 6 miles down the road, it got off to a promising start.

Urban planners spent millions of yuan to clean up surrounding marshland that had become a dumping ground for the city’s untreated sewage. A pristine environment, they hoped, would help attract the businesses that would raise incomes and swell the population.

Four years later, Tieling New City is virtually a ghost town.

Clean waterways weave among deserted residential and government buildings. Housing blocks that won recognition from the United Nations for providing good affordable homes are almost empty. The businesses that were supposed to create local employment haven’t materialized. Without jobs, there is little incentive for anybody to move here.

Tieling symbolizes the enormous challenges Chinese Premier Li Keqiang faces as he touts urbanization—a process analysts expect will see 250 million people move from rural areas to cities over 20 years—as the force that will ensure his country’s economy keeps growing well into the future…


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