ORDOS - SKATEBOARDING A GHOST TOWN IN NORTHERN CHINA (2014)
Skaters take advantage of the vast, surreally deserted spaces of China’s most famous contemporary ‘ghost city’. Conceived, along with several similar projects, as part of a colossal and preemptive Chinese urbanisation drive, the largely uninhabited city includes MAD’s Ordos Museum, as well as ambitious but abandoned projects such as Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Wei Wei’s 100 villas.
I can remember seeing international tender invitations for Chinese urban design projects in the late 2000′s, and being struck by the fact that the (astonishingly condensed) programs did not include any site visits, interaction with potential residents, or even research into Chinese culture. Ordos and its counterparts (although impacted by many additional factors) stand as an unfortunate testament to the many hazards of such a detached approach to ‘placemaking’.