Utne Blogs > Arts and Culture

Life in a Carbon-Copy Town

by Kari Volkmann-Carlsen 


Tags: Thames Town, Next American City, replicas, English towns, China, city planning, architecture,

Thames TownWhat makes an English town so, well, English? It could be the bright red phone booths, the black taxicabs, or the Tudor architecture housing fish-and-chips shops. If that’s so, then travelers can find their dose of classic England in a new city outside of Shanghai, China. Thames Town, which opened in 2006, is the spitting image of a small English town, right down to exact replicas of neighborhood eating establishments.

Though 95 percent of the real estate has been sold, the town that should hold 10,000 people is eerily dead. With prices reaching $800,000 for a villa, locals have shied away, and the owners who have purchased the lots as investments don’t reside in their counterfeited properties. Maybe it really does take more than cobblestones and fancy facades to build a community.

(Thanks, Next American City.)

Image by eiro, licensed under Creative Commons.

jake mohan
7/3/2008 12:46:12 PM

Surely I'm not the first to be reminded of Wee Britain, from "Arrested Development."