Utopian city fail, Ordos city in China

utopian city

All these images have one thing in common , the almost complete absence of people. We had already spoken of the Chinese ghost town, but in the case of an Utopian city fail, it’s quite different than a “simple” uninhabited city.

At the origin of this failure there was a project, a dream, investments and even culture in some ways. Looking at these photographs we understand that many resources have been invested in this city and not just from the usual building speculators, but also from government which had in mind an entirely different future..

Just as the ghost town, also this case these horryifing wastes are fascinating.


“Ordos, Inner Mongolia, is well known as the largest Chinese “ghost town”. Located in a province rich with natural resources (coal, gas, rare earth metals), the local government decided to invest heavily in the late 90’s / early 20’s to develop a new city which would become the pride of the country: a futuristic vision of a cultural, economic and political center boasting state-of-the-art infrastructure and real estate. However, following the classic Chinese tradition of building fast and cheap, without any urban planning or long term vision, the city quickly became a spectacular failure.

The prices of property being much too high discouraged potential buyers so the only people who actually moved in were local government officials and migrant workers who could earn more here thanks to a special “relocation bonus”. As a result the city is now a surreal landscape of empty streets, decaying monuments, abandoned buildings and half-finished housing projects. It is more than anywhere the symbol of the Chinese Dream with all its challenges and contradictions, an Orwellian vision of a bright future caught up by a less flamboyant reality.”From the author on Behance.

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Foto Copyright: Raphael Olivier