Ordos in Inner Mongolia is one of the wealthiest regions in China, mainly due to vast reserves of coal and natural gas. In it’s obsessive pursuit of GDP, the new Kangbashi district in Ordos was planned and built by PRC with an eye on the future development with massive investments on building and infrastructure. There’s only one small problem. This city built at a breakneck speed in just five years, intended for a million residents, and filled with all the amenities that signal a prosperous and modern boom town, has only one thing missing in it – people.
Kangbashi is known as a modern ghost town. Kangbashi was designed to have more than 1 million people but remains absolutely empty after the project was launched in 2004. In six years, the authority has spent about $2,6 billion to transform the area into a postmodern metropolis with government towers, skyscrapers, museums, libraries, theaters, sculpture squares and luxury dwellings. Despite the fact that almost all of the infrastructure is finished, the lack of schools, hospitals, taxis, high-speed internet, cable TV and entertainment facilities discouraged people to join Kangbashi. If you go there now, you’ll have more chances to meet street cleaners than pedestrians there.
Kangbashi is a architectural marvels and sculpture gardens. The city, built by the government and funded with coal money, its chief industries energy and carmaking, has been mostly vacant for as long as it has been complete, except for the massive municipal headquarters. It’s a grand canyon of empty monoliths. In a paradox only possible in today’s economic system, Kangbashi manages to be both a boom town and a ghost town at the same time.