Ghost Cities of China

The Story of Cities without People in the World's Most Populated Country

Wade Shepard


Looking through the lens of new cities, Ghost Cities of China shows the 'new society' that's being created to live in them.
Featuring everything from sports stadiums to shopping malls, hundreds of new cities in China stand empty, with hundreds more set to be built by 2030. Between now and then, the country's urban population will leap to over one billion, as the central government kicks its urbanization initiative into overdrive. In the process, traditional social structures are being torn apart, and a rootless, semi-displaced, consumption orientated culture rapidly taking their place. Ghost Cities of China is an enthralling dialogue driven, on-location search for an understanding of China's new cities and the reasons why many currently stand empty.

Author Bio

Wade Shepard is editor in chief at The China Chronicle.

Table of Contents

  • 1. The New Map of China
  • 2. Clearing the Land
  • 3. Of New Cities and Ghost Cities
  • 4. When Construction Ends the Building Begins
  • 5. Megacities Inside of Megacities
  • 6. A New City, A New Identity
  • 7. No Going Back
  • 8. Powering the New China
  • 9. Staying Afloat
  • 10. What Ghost Cities Become


'A crash course in how Chinese capitalism, if that’s what it is, actually works.'
The Guardian

'The landscape Shepard travels is so strange and monumental that it is hard to avoid being fascinated.'
New Statesman

'Ghost Cities of China tells a mixed story of China’s urbanisation drive…Wade Shepard presents an even-handed picture of this process as he has witnessed it and leaves the question of the future open.'
Royal Society for Asian Affairs

'Through in-depth engagement with the country's vast urbanization efforts, Shepard exposes both the myths and realities of China's ghost cities; haunted spaces, which are not dead and abandoned, but rather have yet to come to life.'
Anna Greenspan, author of Shanghai Future: Modernity Remade

'In his exploration of East Asian cities that are literally disposable, Shepard provides an intriguing overview to a phenomenon that combines two of this century's biggest narratives -- global urbanization, and the unprecedented growth of China.'
Rolf Potts, author of Vagabonding and Marco Polo Didn't Go There

'Shepard cuts through the sensational coverage of China's infrastructure boom to deliver an eye-opening piece of reportage on the topic. A well-reported and fascinating primer on China's ghost cities.'
Rob Schmitz, China correspondent for Marketplace

'Scholars and students of Chinese studies will gain greater clarity and understanding regarding the dynamics and unknown facets of the ghost cities of China. It is a book that everyone interested in ghost cities and the future of China would do well to read.'
Europe-Asia Studies


Publication Date: 9 April 2015
232 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781783602186
Hardback: 9781783602193
eBook ePub: 9781783602216
eBook PDF: 9781783602209
eBook Kindle: 9781783602223

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