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Dongguan, China (CNN) — They built it, but the shoppers didn’t come.

New South China Mall in Guangdong Province opened in 2005. With 5 million square feet of shopping area, the mall can accommodate2,350 stores, making it the largest shopping center in the world in terms of leasable space — more than twice the size of Mall of America, the biggest shopping center in the United States.

Almere’s insight:

How can we avoid the construction of ghost cities?

New South China Mall in Guangdong may be the world’s biggest mall at 5 million square feet of shopping area, but it is a scene of desertion with low consumer traffic and high vacancy rates. This phenomenon of ‘ghost towns’ can be seen across Chinese cities of Zhengzhou, Dongguan, and many more. 

Victor Teo, Assistant Professor at the University of Hong Kong, mentioned in this article that many of these projects are a result of easy access to capital and a combination of wishful thinking and speculative behavior rather than rational business calculations. 

There are other well-known examples in Spain, Ireland and elsewhere of overbuilding during a real-estate boom before the recession hit leaving streets of uninhabited dwellings and apartments. 

Is there a way to avoid the construction of "ghost cities" or is this an unavoidable consequence of economic boom and bust? 



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