Chinese Cities

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Ghost Cities: Understanding Patterns in Chinese Urbanization


Ghost Cities are Chinese neighborhoods and sometimes entire cities that were never inhabited after being built. They are a physical manifestation of the country’s overdevelopment of real estate and its dependence on housing as an investment strategy. In the absence of data establishing the extent of Ghost Cities, MIT’s Civic Data Design Lab developed a model to document them using data scraped from Chinese social media sites and Baidu (Chinese Google Maps). The result is one of the first maps identifying the locations of Ghost Cities. Using interactive screens and dramatic drone imagery, this exhibition allows visitors to immerse themselves in virtual tours of these eerie places.