Kangbashi, or “The Empty City,” is the future of ghost towns. Developed to house over one million people, the city sits almost completely uninhabited.
Unlike typical ghost towns, Kangbashi has never had a bustling population of permanent residents. The vacant metropolis was built in 2004 as part of a public works project to develop the Ordos community. The urban landscape is filled with lavish apartment buildings, state-of-the-art office towers, museums, sports fields, and theaters. There’s just no one to use them.
There’s definitely no shortage of buyers in the area. The region has the second highest per-capita GDP in China due to its immense coal and natural gas reserves. Most of the buildings and apartments, in fact, have already been sold. Still, most buyers don’t move to the city and it remains mostly deserted.
The most current figure estimates the population of the sprawling community to be around 20,000 to 30,000, although with the plunging property values in the area that number is likely to decline. One explanation for the staggering vacancies is that the bulk of Ordo’s residents already have homes in Dongsheng, a city only 15 miles from Kangbashi. On the bright side, there are no lines.