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26 AUGUST 2010

Shanghai Thames Town: A little piece of England in China

"Tucked away near the last stop of Line 9, the satellite settlement of Thames Town opened in 2006 as part of Shanghai's One City, Nine Towns program, with low–rise apartments and gated complexes designed to house 10,000 residents. Despite an intensive marketing effort (including a beauty pageant), the community failed to take off, and what's left is a ghost town –– and an ideal place for a quiet afternoon stroll.

As its name suggests, the design of Thames Town is inspired by England, with a main square, red telephone booths, streets named High, Oxford, and Queen and, of course, its very own man–made Thames river. If you start to lose yourself in your surroundings, worry not: images of Haibao have made it out here to reassure you that you are, in fact, still in Shanghai."

(Frances Woo, 22 January 2010,

Fig.1 Anthony Skriba. 27 April 2010. 'three separate wedding parties', stillgoingnative

Fig.2 Sarah Low, 2009. 'Boxing Day / China Trip: Day 10 and 11'




2006AlphavillearchitectureauthenticitycitycopyEngland • ersatzism • experience • folly • Haibao • mimesis • Nine Towns, One City • nostalgianoveltyPeoples Republic of Chinaplacereplicarepresentation • satellite settlement • Shanghaisimulation • Thames Town • theme parkUKurban planningurban simulationwedding


Simon Perkins

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