The Fake-British Ghost Town In China: Thames Town

The Fake-British Ghost Town In China: Thames Town


I am still in the Arctic, so today’s guest
video comes from Collin Rodefer over at the Collin Sphere Travel Vlog, who’s
reporting from China. Nice to meet you, my name is Collin and here
we are in beautiful Shanghai, China. Home to tens of millions of people, Shanghai is one of the most populated cities
in the world. You might know some attractions that Shanghai
has to offer, such as the Bund, Nanjing Road, and even the newly opened Disneyland. But despite the enormous population, you might be surprised to find out that here
lies, within this city, fully built newly constructed towns that remain
virtually empty. Modern day ghost towns. Located at the end of subway line 9 lies Thames
Town, an English style ghost town with street names
such as Prince and Harry Street. It’s what you might expect from a replica
town which even sports many statues of well-known figures from English history
and culture. This town was originally built to service
a thriving community. And with shop signs that read “open”, you have to take a closer look to realise
that the fresh fruits that are on display in the windows are actually
fake and that these shots are, in fact, abandoned. On the chance that you do encounter people, it’s not hard to see that this town serves
more as a place of tourism, and even more so, a backdrop for wedding photography. Completed in 2006, Thames Town was one of
nine Western-style towns to be built on the outskirts of Shanghai. In order to alleviate pressure and congestion
within the city centre. It was reported that it cost ¥5 billion to
complete, and can house up to 10,000 people. Its sole purpose was to house students and
staff at nine universities in nearby Songjiang University City. As you can tell, ten years later, it just hasn’t met that purpose. After walking the perimeter of the town, which only occupies one square kilometre of
space, and seeing nothing but empty residential after
residential, I decided to test my luck and head into the
city centre to see what kind of lively events Thames Town
has to offer on a summer’s weekend night. Nothing. So why did this happen? Why did this fail? Well, once the town was completed, the majority of properties were bought up
by wealthy investors and individuals looking to make businesses and this place
their second home. As naturally, as demand rises, prices rise, and in this case prices skyrocketed, making it unattainable for universities to
provide accommodation for their students and staff. So with the majority of properties purchased, you end up with a lot of empty shops, and
you have all the businesses trying to provide services for around 1,000
people when the population should really be around
ten times that. When you think of a ghost town, you may think of the classic Western American
towns we all see in movies with the ever-so-classic tumbleweeds being
blown into the distance. The difference between a town like that and
this, is that those towns one point developed communities and now we just have the remains of the buildings – whereas here everything is new and clean,
and is just… existing. Walking to this town, you definitely get an
eerie feeling here, and it kind of almost feels like the Truman
Show, as in you know there’s people living here, however something about it just feels fake. The best way to describe it, I would say, is it kind of feels like a Hollywood set. But behind closed doors it doesn’t feel
so Hollywood, and you get a totally different feeling. Searching around, I was able to get into a
small coffee shop called Andy Coffee, and with the counters turned over and the
chairs thrown around, you get the feeling that previous owners just
up-and-left the place. Like, they had to be suddenly evacuated. In that moment, I was rather paranoid about
being in there, but in hindsight, I really should have just sat down and brewed
myself a coffee. The thought that I keep trying to shake is
that this is an actual community where people actually
live their lives, rather than just being a tourist attraction. And there’s reasons why there have been
many comparisons to the EPCOT Center, and I have to keep reminding myself that I
can stay here as long as I want. There is no closing time. It’s… it’s quite interesting to say
the least, and would I live here? Definitely. Definitely, if I could afford it. If you were to ask me how English this is
town actually feel, I would say that other than the Chinese characters
around every corner, and other tell-tale signs such as bamboo scaffolding, you would have a hard time differentiating
between Thames Town and an actual English town. Of course you can nitpick the small things, like windows being larger in comparison, but this is just a preference of Chinese culture. The middle ground lies somewhere in both the
English and Chinese undying love for tea. Now whether this town is deemed successful
or not, that’s not my call. And although the town did not meet its initial
purpose, the fact that the majority of the properties
were purchased, coupled with the fact that China is now building
another one of these towns in Beijing, tells me that they see something worthwhile
in building these little western towns. Once again, my name is Collin, and thank you
for experiencing this amazing place with me. Thank you, Collin! Go subscribe to his channel now, links are in the description or on screen. He’s got loads of great videos like that. And what I love about that is finding out
that the replica version of London has exactly the same property bubble problem
as the real version of London. Next time, the final guest video: and it’s about something that you’ve probably
seen and probably didn’t want to.

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