Clone City: Austrian Village Erected In China

  • This one is less about pop-up urbanism and more about something that recently just popped up in a pretty seemingly random place. Namely, Austria in China.

    There’s been a remarkable amount of media coverage about this development, from science and technology magazines and architecture blogs to mass media distributors and major state media corporations, reporting on an identical clone of Hallstatt, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located on Austria’s Hallstätter See. Not a single detail was left out on the perfect simulacrum, including building details and major monuments. Simulacritecture at its absolute finest, one could say.

    What does this mean for urban design, anyway? We generally think of urban planning as a slow process, adding buildings to our urban environment in a piecemeal way. But these ancient(-looking) structures can pop-up pretty quickly, as was the case here.

    Volumes have been written about suburban sprawl and how quickly those developments are built: but who’s to say that a more high-density neighbourhood or a compact village can’t be an effective example of flexible urbanism?