A couple of years ago, the architectural world was buzzing with news that a hundred or so up-and-coming architects had been chosen to design villas in a new real estate development in Ordos, Inner Mongolia. While I am not aware of the present status of that project, the latest New York Times report on Ordos puts it and other such opportunities in perspective.

It is hard to say which aspect of this perspective is more unsettling—the irresponsible overdevelopment and land speculation; the conspicuous waste of natural and human resources; the utter banality of the architectural design of the buildings; the paucity of imagination and innovation in the conception and planning of an entire, new urban settlement; or, not least, the realization that all of these aspects mark trends evident anywhere and everywhere today. This is not only a confirmation of globalization’s relentless march into the future, with its bland homogeneity leveling all human diversity, but a depressing forecast of things to come.



Credit for the above photos and captions: Adam Dean for the New York Times.

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