Founded in February of 2001, Ordos, whose name translates from the Mongolian into “palaces,” is an enigmatic riddle. It is an empty city although it is inhabited and it is richer by far than the nation’s capitol, Beijiing.
Explanations are in order. The city’s 1,548,000 could hardly classify it as a ghost town as far as population numbers go, but much of its futuristic infrastructure is over-developed, unused and under-designed.
The growth of Ordos is positively absurd; its density remains 17.8 people per square kilometer. By comparison, New York City has 157.91 habitants per square kilometer.
It took five years to build this ghost town with funds created by a $585 billion stimulus package meant to bolster China’s economy despite its painful recession. The Inner Mongolian city was meant to accommodate some one million residents and yet it remains empty.
Filled with office towers, administrative centers, government buildings, museums, theaters, sports fields and acres of subdivisions bursting with residential space, there remains only one small problem. No one lives there!
Ordos’s low population is oddly matched by its high income, which is due to its nearby coal mines and other rich natural resources which include: textile (wool), petrochemicals, electricity generation and production of building materials.
As far as the rest of China is concerned, Ordos retains the second highest per capita income, after Shanghai. Construction management companies insist that all units have been sold (purchased by investors), but for whatever reason, no one is moving in!
If Ordos ever takes off the way it was originally planned, there is little doubt that the result will be a great return on the original investment.
One can only surmise that old saying about “build it and they will come” doesn’t always work. Cities are more successful when their expansion correlates with the needs of its population.
They can’t work like recipes and be built from scratch.
‘Come and eat this’ simply isn’t the same as ‘come and live here’.
What do YOU think about this?