Cian Oba-Smith

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Shanzhai looks at the phenomenon of Chinese copycat architecture in the wider context of globalization and the resulting collision between traditional values and modern Chinese society.


In the past fifteen years, there has been a boom in the planning and construction of settlements—even entire towns—with Western-style architecture. Initially, most were deemed as failures, due to a lack of demand, and as a result many became ghost towns. Over the years, however, as China’s urban middle class has gone through incredible growth, many have flourished, becoming home to tens of thousands of residents.
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