On this week’s podcast, we’re talking about one of the biggest stories in the world today – the urbanisation of China.
To help us work this one out, we’re joined by a man who literally wrote the book on the subject. In 2006, American student Wade Shepard found himself lost in an entirely empty city somewhere in western China. When he told his professor about the experience, the response was a shrug and the words, “Yeah, those things are everywhere”.
So Wade set about exploring these empty cities. Last year, he published the book, Ghost Cities of China, about his experiences, to explain where these cities come from – and why they’re not really ghost cities at all. (You can find links to some of Wade’s excellent articles for us below.)
Also this week, we’re introducing a new segment in which one of our listeners tells us about their own city. This week, the man behind the curtain, our producer Roifield Brown, tells us about his hometown Birmingham.
If you’d like to contribute to this section in future, you can leave us a short message on Speakpipe – or, if you think that what you want to say will take more than 90 seconds, you can just email us an audio file.
Some relevant links...
Wade has written a whole series of articles for CityMetric, in his capacity as our unofficial China correspondent. Here are some of our favourites:
- “Enough empty floor space to cover Madrid“: so why are China’s ghost cities still unoccupied?
- Seven reasons why China is so disaster-prone
- “My family has lived here for generations. We don’t want our house destroyed”: on China’s mass evictions
Incidentally, the image at the top of this post is our map of the week, and show's an attempt to map China's ghost using mobile phone signals. You can read more about this here.