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Helping Write The Atlas Of New Cities

A first of its kind book about a movement that’s literally reshaping the world.

PRAGUE, Czech Republic- I was invited to write the China section and foreword of The Atlas of New Cities. How could I turn this down? New cities have been one of my main beats since 2012 — my main stories — when I jumped into my Chinese ghost cities projects and set a course of events in motion that completely altered my trajectory.

The Atlas of New Cities is exactly that: an atlas of new cities. It is a first of its kind book which illustrates around 100 new cities that are being built around the world right now and connects them together as part of a very unique 21st century phenomenon.

Humans have always built new cities — my home city Buffalo was an intentional, masterplanned greenfield city — but we have never built so many new cities in so many places so rapidly. We’re talking more than a trillion dollars (probably two or three trillion) that is being dumped into these places, and what will happen with these places will tell the story of the upcoming century.

My interest in new cities?

I’m a traveler. The draw of new dot on the map that few have ever been to that’s never really been written about before is too enticing to ignore. These are places at the starting points of their histories, their narratives are not set, their brands are not yet burned into the fabric of public perception. Few know what these new cities are and nobody knows what they could potentially become — and the fact that they are popping up virtually everywhere in the emerging markets of the world turns them into looking glasses of sorts: looking glasses at what the future could behold.

I’ve been compulsively traveling to new cities since 2006 — they are the new Wild West’s of the world, and there is something about them that’s just what I’m after.

I now know why I’m attracted to new cities.

I suppose this atlas could also theoretically be used as some kind of off beat travel guide if anyone else is stricken by the desire to see what the world is becoming … or how this globalization fiasco meets its bitter end.

The primary author of The Atlas of New Cities is Dr. Sarah Moser from McGill University. If you’ve been reading this blog lately, you know her well. She’s my counterpart in new cities research — I was even a question on one of her final exams — she usually mans the academic side while I’m on the journalistic. However, she’s trying to get me to jump the fence. I have to admit that I’m tempted.

Filed under: Books, New Cities

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3548 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Astoria, New York

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