Imitation is the highest form of flattery, right? It’s assumed that this is the notion behind China’s fascination with reproducing various European architectural landmarks. Traveling to Tianducheng, China it’s a little hard to miss the 354ft reproduction of Paris’ Eiffel Tower. It was spurred by the idea that France has always been known to be the country of romance. Every country deserves a little romance. But France isn’t the only country to have its architecture imitated. Other areas within Tianducheng include reproductions of Italian, German, and English towns, which have resulted in a very small portion of China being extremely reminiscent of well-known European structures throughout the world.
The project began in 2007 and while the sight of a copy of the Eiffel Tower may sound impressive to some it is intriguing to know, according to the media, since its creation the city has become a ghost town. These structures may sound appealing on a tourist level, but on an economic level it appears to everyone that the resulting ghost towns where these structures reside are evidence of the disparity between the rich and poor.
Despite these obvious changes in resident population, it is not surprising that the financial backing behind such projects don’t view the structures as a link to the formation of the ghost towns. Stephen Roach, former chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia, believes that, instead, these areas will grow into flourishing metropolitan as China continues to become more urbane. These ghost towns could be a sign of the current generation rebelling against the obvious culture change. Perhaps up and coming generations will embrace these recreations of art. Only time can confirm such things. Until then Tianducheng will continue to intrigue us.