Ghost Cities in China?

“If you build it, they will come.” Field of Dreams.

Gail Vaz-Oxlade, a personal finance guru and host of the television show ‘Til Debt Do Us Part‘ posted a link to a Journeyman Pictures video on YouTube, entitled Ghost Cities – China. The video shows several newly built cities in China that remain unoccupied, and exist at less than 20% capacity.

The journalists suggest several reasons for this. China wants to improve its gross domestic product (GDP), so the government started massive building projects to improve their perceived standard of living. The problem is much of the general population can’t afford to live in these towns, including their own project planners. Many are showing wear and tear from lack of use, and I’m not even sure how businesses in these areas are even surviving.

The clip speculates that China is either going to undergo its own housing crash, or gap between the poor population and those that can afford the homes will create a backlash similar to other countries. What’s kept it from crashing so far, is the fact that China’s government has more control over borrowing. I’m definitely interested in seeing if any more news comes out about these ghost cities. As a friend pointed out when I sent him a link to the video, 64 million empty apartments could house the entire population of Canada twice over.

I question why people would move to these neighborhoods. What are the industries there that can support such a large population? Urban planning needs more than apartments and shopping malls for people to survive. Zhengzou New District has public buildings that have never been used. And the country is still building.

Also, to get the land for these projects, they are demolishing existing affordable housing. Where are the previous residents going to go?

It seems completely absurd, like a bizarre version of Field of Dreams, only no one can come and occupy the spaces, because they can’t afford what’s been built.