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)

Luodian "Scandinavian Town"

Luodian Shanghai houses and apartments
(Rémi Ferrand)

With homes costing five million yuan (US $730,000) and apartments costing 580,000 yuan (USD $85,000), the cost to live in Luodian is prohibitive for most Shanghai residents, who live on average salaries of 40,000 yuan (USD $5,850) per year. Local media reported, as of last year, only 8 of the 48 villas and 120 apartments had been sold.

Yet the grand scheme of enticing people from downtown may eventually work, simply because Shanghai cannot hold its new residents anywhere else. Until 1998, housing for urban dwellers was provided by the state, though the government had limited resources for new construction. As a result, many of the existing homes in Shanghai were built cheaply and without modern conveniences. With another 300,000 people joining Shanghai’s population over the next five years, these new constructions—filled with Western amenities—will be sorely needed.


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