Shanghai’s European Suburbs

Chinese urban planners are building new towns with a foreign flair, each mimicking architecture from Europe’s storied cities

(Rémi Ferrand)

Canadian Town

Spanish Town Shanghai
(Rémi Ferrand)

“Just like Europe in the 1950s, the construction is going very quickly, and they’re not afraid to put trash everywhere,” says Ferrand, the architect. Construction on the rest of the Nine Towns initiative seems to have stalled, for now: a Canadian-themed town and two traditional Chinese towns remain in various states of incompletion. “I think the cities that are not constructed yet are not going to be built at all,” Ferrand says. But den Hartog, the urban planner, is not so sure: “The infrastructure is there—parks, lakes, but no houses. Everything is ready [in the Canadian town] to become a city.”


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