Saturday, April 14, 2007

Add this to the list

This sounds like some sort of bizarre combination of Ohio and Las Vegas.

As China's modernization continues to pull hundreds of millions of people from farms to cities and suburbs, a construction boom has given rise to a vast landscape of foreign-looking settlements. These real-estate developments are the latest manifestation of the technique that has fueled China's economic boom: making copies.

In Nanjing, there are Balinese retreats and Italian villas. In the southeastern city of Hangzhou, there are Venice and Zurich. In downtown Beijing, everything is about Manhattan, with Soho, Central Park and Park Avenue.

"Many people in China today associate the exotic with wealth. They buy into these developments to differentiate themselves from ordinary people," said Tino Wan, a manager of ERA Real Estate in Shanghai.

Shanghai's plan is among the most ambitious, calling for a ring of satellite developments modeled after different parts of Europe, including German, Czech, Spanish and Scandinavian districts, in addition to the one that looks like London, known as Thames Town.

Read more here.
[via boingboing]

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