There's no denying China's place among the topmost world powers -- that being said, there's also a steadily growing property bubble that's just about ready to burst. There's no greater testament to this over-supply and over-valuation than the intricately detailed, horrifically sad ghost towns modelled after Europe's greatest metropolises. Case in point? The Paris clone captured by Vimeo user Caspar Stracke, Tianducheng.
China began developing this particular mini-city back in 2007 (around the same time as little London, Thames, and Hallstatt) with the intention of housing around 10,000 people. Today, the town's population hits somewhere around 2000 -- and those are mostly people working on the French-themed village park next door.
From the wrought iron to the mini-Eiffel Tower (the replica is 354 feet versus the actual tower's 1,063), it really is a beautiful, exquisitely detailed effort at recreating one of the most beautiful places in the world. There's even a fountain meant to represent the colossal one from the Palace of Versailles. But given the fact that it's become practically a dead zone, the entire area just seems to emanate a sense of overwhelming depression.
Other than the fact that it exists and is grossly underinhabited, very little is actually known about Tianducheng, which isn't entirely surprising. It would make sense that China wouldn't feel inclined to brag about its failed attempts at grandeur. But we do know that there were once plans for a school, hospital, and country club in addition to the many residences that currently make up the city. Now, though, the only people who really make use of Tianducheng are newlyweds looking for a cheap replacement-Paris backdrop. China still maintains that they expect these cities to fill up as the country continues to develop. Let's hope they're right -- the alternative is just too melancholic to even consider. [Financial Post]