Even the humble English village has also received a nod from China’s imitationist architect, complete with mock Tudor frontages, cobbles, squares, and corner shops. Named “Thames Town” (which suggests this is very much a Home Counties village), the settlement is situated about 30km from central Shanghai.
It’s part of Songjiang New City, a new development intended to shoulder some of Shanghai’s enormous population growth. Other Western themed developments have also been built or partially built in Shanghai’s suburbs, including “Holland Town”, and Italian, Canadian and Scandinavian-style developments.
What’s striking about Thames Town in particular is its remarkable accuracy. This may be because English architects are forever imitating their own mythologised image of the ideal British village: faux-Victorian and faux-Tudor buildings are pretty much as common now in Britain as their actual historical counterparts. In fact, Thames Town wouldn’t look out of place if you dropped it into Poundbury, Prince Charles’ bizarre model town development off the A35.