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Posted by Heidi Schwartz
Back in 1972, President Richard Nixon visited China. All the world watched, and the divide between cultures changed forever. The landmark event was even made into a full length opera in the 1980s.
Fast forward to today, some 30+ years later, and the geopolitical climate—due in part to economic realities—continues to change drastically. Both American and Chinese business ventures admittedly make huge profits based on the import and export of goods and services.
But it’s the cultural exchange that has been somewhat surreal. Modern Chinese cities are springing up around the country designed to incorporate famous European architectural landmarks. From Smithsonian.com:
In 2007, a town called Tianducheng, located about two hours west of Shanghai, began construction of a miniature Paris. The town—built to support a population of 10,000—came complete with a 300-foot tall Eiffel tower, grey Parisian facades, cobblestoned streets, and Renaissance fountains.
But unfortunately, urban planning and common sense were not factored into the new Paris in China. The miniature but grand boulevards are lonely and relatively empty, due to the small detail that the city is in the middle of nowhere and cut off from public transportation. The only visitors are those desperate enough to get their in order to grab snapshots in front of famous Parisian landmarks.
Will the town ever support the 10,000 residents it was built to please? As the country grows in population and people seek modern (yet quaint) residences, “Tianducheng and its neo-Classical apartments will be waiting,” according to Smithsonian.com.