KANGBASHI

KANGBASHI, CHINA

iD magazine - - Current Events -

WHERE IS THERE A ME­TROP­O­LIS WITH­OUT IN­HAB­I­TANTS?

Gi­gan­tic skyscrap­ers with lux­u­ri­ous fully equipped apart­ments, am­ple green parks, lakes that stretch for miles, huge four-lane high­ways— in ad­di­tion to in­cred­i­ble li­braries and even an art cen­ter. But on the streets and high­ways there are only some cows walk­ing around. Kangbashi in the In­ner Mon­go­lia re­gion of China is a mod­ern me­trop­o­lis with space for more than a mil­lion res­i­dents—and yet it is al­most com­pletely empty. “The place with­out a soul,” as the Chi­nese call it, is the big­gest ghost town in the world. In 2000 China still had am­bi­tious plans for the area: In the small town of Dong­sheng vast coal and nat­u­ral gas re­serves were de­tected. Im­me­di­ately Dong­sheng was re­named Or­dos City, and the city plan­ners be­gan im­ple­ment­ing a mas­sive ex­pan­sion. The goal: Turn Or­dos City into a me­trop­o­lis that’s fit for mil­lions, like Dubai. The dis­trict of Kangbashi, lo­cated 20 miles away and cover­ing 12 square miles, was to be the cen­ter of this new boom­town. The equiv­a­lent of over $ 2 bil­lion was in­vested in the project. And in just six years, colos­sal skyscrap­ers were built from scratch in the mid­dle of the desert, con­structed for hun­dreds of thou­sands of new res­i­dents. The prob­lem: Fewer than 5,000 peo­ple have moved to Kangbashi to date. The huge skyscrap­ers stand largely empty, while the shop­ping cen­ters re­main with­out cus­tomers and the mu­se­ums with­out vis­i­tors. Although many in­vestors—coal mag­nates, for the most part—have in­deed bought apart­ments, they have not ac­tu­ally moved in to oc­cupy them. De­spite the city’s eerie back­drop, in­vestors re­main un­de­terred—they still be­lieve in a glo­ri­ous fu­ture for Kangbashi. And so they con­tinue to build…

CON­CRETE DESERT

about Kangbashi is lo­cated Beijing. In the 400 miles from Mon­go­lia mid­dle of In­ner soar dozens of skyscrap­ers few of them into the sky—but are in­hab­ited.

39.5976° N 109.9093° E

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