Photo of Tiandu Cheng posted on Weibo.
With a Champs Elysées, Haussmann-style buildings and an Eiffel Tower standing proudly over the town, Tiandu Cheng is surprisingly … French. Targeting the thousands of Chinese homebuyers with a taste for French architecture, Tiandu Cheng is a miniature Paris. And a small number of inhabitants already call this mock-up home.
Literally translated as “Sky City”, Tiandu Cheng is a 1900-hectare zone built by the Guangsha group, the largest private developer in China. Located about 45 minutes from Hangzhou and only 170km from Shanghai, this Paris clone was built from scratch. Started in 2007, construction is still underway; it is expected to be able to house around 100,000 residents by the time of its projected 2015 completion. Villas in Tiandu Cheng, largely more expensive than the apartments, are priced at abuot 600,000 euros; a luxury in a country where the monthly salary of employees in the private sector is on average 300 euros.
Photo courtesy of Robin Chubb. First published on Bricoleurbanism.org.
This "Sky City" has been mostly depicted in western media as a ghost town, with some people claiming there are only around 30 inhabitants. Such claims irritate Mr. Zhu, a local who moved into one of the new three-bedroom apartments three years ago.
Replica of a fountain of the Château of Versailles.
A dried-out fountain in Tiandu Cheng.