The City of Ordos – A Failed Utopia

Ghost town Ordos in Inner Mongolia, China captured by photographer Raphael Olivier.

Raphael Olivier is a French photographer who currently lives in Shanghai, China. His photographic work is mainly focused on the diversity of urban development and mega-city lifestyles.

In 2015, he decided to create a photographic documentation about the city of Ordos, which is located in Inner Mongolia, China. Ordos is well known as China’s largest “ghost town”. The town was originally planned as China’s answer to cities like Dubai, a futuristic city which would become the pride of the country. The futuristic plan has been realized with great zeal and ambition, but without any urban planning or long term vision.

Today the city resembles a ghost town. The only people who could afford to move in were local government officials or migrant workers who could earn more here (thanks to a special “relocation bonus”). Ordos is now a surreal place of empty streets and huge futuristic buildings, which were once created for a large amount of people. The images of the city form a strong contrast to the vibrant life, known from Chinese cities such as Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, etc.

I recommend you to visit Raphael Olivier’s website to see other images of the series or check out more of his projects. Raphael Olivier mainly works on commercial assignments around Asia – covering diverse architecture, interiors, lifestyle, hotels and resorts, etc.

Ghost town Ordos captured by photographer Raphael Olivier.
Ghost town Ordos captured by photographer Raphael Olivier.
A deserted residential complex.
A deserted residential complex.
Clean architecture in the middle of a wasteland.
Clean architecture in the middle of a wasteland.
Futuristic architecture on a deserted place.
Futuristic architecture on a deserted place.
Huge monuments which were originally planned for a large amount of people.
Huge monuments which were originally planned for a large amount of people.
Ordos was originally planned as a futuristic vision of a cultural, economic, and political center.
Ordos was originally planned as a futuristic vision of a cultural, economic, and political center.
Ordos, a failed utopia in Inner Mongolia, China.
Ordos, a failed utopia in Inner Mongolia, China.
Organic, modern architectural shapes.
Organic, modern architectural shapes.
The city forms an almost unreal scenery.
The city forms an almost unreal scenery.

Find more intersting projects in our Architecture and Photography category.

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