Tag: 1 city 9 town
Afternoon trip to the picturesque French village of Ambialet, which is located right in the middle of a neat little bend in the Tarn river (map).
The final photos were taken in one of the many tunnels along the D172 road that you need to take to get to Ambialet… and while some are not even lit (!!), most are barely wide enough for two cars… even our little rental (Nissan Note).
I still prefer my name for Holland Village… SHANGSTERDAM.
Holland Village [map], another housing project part of the “1 City – 9 Towns” initiative the Shanghai Planning Commission set up in 2001. Designed by Dutch architects, this project, like Thames Town (see my posts of Thames Town here and here), is not quite a success, partly because it is located too far away from the city (20min walk to metro, then over an hour to Peoples Square), and partly because Chinese tastes do not suit with Dutch architecture, nevermind the price tag of 35,000RMB per square meter. Hardly as intricate as the “British” Thames Town (not even a single bike stall!), but definitely worth a visit and walk around. Just about as much as a ghost town as the “British” Town, but a few more locals walking around, as Holland Village (aka Shangsterdam!) is better integrated with the surrounding town of Gao Qiao, whereas Thames Town was a seriously locked-down housing complex (with only 2 entrances/exits).
To visit Shangsterdam, you can easily walk from the North Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone station, the second to last stop on line 5. Then an easy, and picturesque (see previous post) 20min walk following the river through traditional Chinese streets and you’ll eventually see the windmill located on an island in the middle of the river you’ve been following.
Is this England or China?
It is in fact: Thames Town, Songjiang, Shanghai [map]. A housing project which is part of the “One City - Nine Towns” initiative the Shanghai Planning Commission set up in early 2001. All are situated around the suburbs of Shanghai, this one resembling life in Britain (others include Sweden, Holland, Germany, Canada, Spain, Italy, and China – don’t worry, I’ll get to them eventually!). Thames Town, at a 20% occupancy is hardly a success, but it does make for an incredibly bizarre experience… somewhere between a ghost town and a film set.
Only difference is: this is real.
It’s a playground for the Chinese wedding photographers… with among other things, a church based on one in Bristol, and with a price tag of over 5 billion RMB ($750 million), this didn’t come cheap.