Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ordos: If You Build It, Will They Come? Apparently Not

It took decades and complex global economic trends to create all the vacant property in Flint. China managed to pull it off all on their own and much more quickly in the Ordos district, a self-inflicted ghost town in Inner Mongolia complete with a bizarre museum and thousands of empty structures. Lucy Hornby and Langi Chiang of Reuters report:

Off the back of a thriving coal industry, the local government has been building a new city for one million people called Kangbashi. It sits virtually empty and property prices are falling.

Even in the old city of Dongsheng where people live and work, some 45 minutes drive away, a wave of investment has backfired. Cranes sit idle over unfinished skyscrapers and migrant workers are fleeing.

The swing in fortune -- residents and property agents say prices have dropped by up to a third -- is a severe example of what is happening in cities across China, including Shanghai and Beijing.


  1. How do we learn from that? Or are we suppose to feel sorry for them? I wonder if there are any articles that depict the peoples opinion in that area. Why don't they want to live there. What a mystery.

  2. Something about this Ordos district reminds me of Autoworld, but on a much greater scale. Whoever came up with the Ordos district makes the people who came up with Autoworld look good by comparison, just for failing on a much smaller scale. But actually, Ordos reminds me even more of the economic problems of Las Vegas. One point to be taken from this is there's plenty of problems nationwide and worldwide, not just a Michael Moore type obsession with Flint's problems.


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at www.teardownbook.com.