≡ Menu

Demolition Party | The New Inquiry

An excerpt from Ghost Cities of China has been featured in The New Inquiry.

Support VBJ’s writing on this blog:

An excerpt from Ghost Cities of China has been featured in The New Inquiry:

China’s construction boom is driven by an equally booming wave of urban destruction.

In the past two decades China has systematically levelled and rebuilt a huge percentage of its housing stock. Some 129 million homes have been constructed across the country since 1995; 40 percent of all homes were built after 2000. Each year 2,000 sq km of floor space, nearly enough to cover Hong Kong twice, is being created in China. However, according to Gavekal Dragonomics, a Hong Kong-based financial research firm, this is still not enough: If China is to meet its urbanization goals it will need to have produced between 40 and 50 million more homes by 2020.

It’s not just old buildings in old cities that are meeting their end in China’s construction boom. According to the Ministry of Housing and Urban–Rural Development, almost all buildings constructed before 1999—more than half the buildings currently standing—will be demolished and rebuilt in the next twenty years. Shoddy construction is one of the main reasons for this, as buildings that were constructed between 1949 and 1999 are generally considered to be of low quality, as most were thrown up fast and cheap as housing for work units. Gavekal Dragonomics estimates that between 2005 and 2010 China demolished 16 percent of its total housing stock, totalling 1.85 billion square metres, enough to completely blanket the Comoros Islands.

Read this story: Demolition Party – The New Inquiry

Get a copy of Ghost Cities of China from Amazon.


The only way I can continue my travels and publishing this blog is by generous contributions from readers. If you can, please subscribe for just $5 per month:


If you like what you just read, please sign up for our newsletter!
* indicates required
Filed under: China, Urbanization

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3719 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

Support VBJ’s writing on this blog:

VBJ is currently in: New York City

0 comments… add one

Leave a Comment