china-suburbia-063

china-suburbia-063

China Suburbia cover
The only problem is many of these new cities are totally empty. There are a number of factors why they are still in this condition. The first reason is because the original urban planning project forecasts to fill the apartments with people by the end of 2025. But this expectation does not take into account the fact many times the price for square meter is too high for a standard Chinese family, forced to incur in debts and loans to buy a house; sometimes cities are literally built where it’s no use. And many time the buildings were ready far too early: when the people will move in, most of the facilities and infrastructures will be already old. China’s new urban areas are being built for decades from now.
Chenggong New Town is a satellite city located within the proximity of Kunming. It was planned as the future administrative and employment center for Greater Kunming region and the first “Low-Carbon City” in the area. It was designed to house 1.5 million people featuring a series of interconnected communities. The construction started in 2003. I visited Chenggong three or four times. The area is mostly abandoned, except for the huge market Luo Si Wan and the new University campus. The government from 2000 has tried to attract new residents in the area but with no luck, despite the huge investment. In 2012 the population of the New Town was mostly composed by students, workers and security guards. However from 2004 to 2012 Chenggong was only a vast and dusty territory, a patchwork of separate urban hubs in various degrees of completion, interconnected by highways and large blocks.  The city is not expected to be complete until 20 years after they begin construction. Only then we can speculate on its success.
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