Frontier Boomtown Urbanism in Ordos, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region

Max D. Woodworth, University of California, Berkeley
Kangbashi District, Ordos Municipality. Photo by the author.
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Ordos Municipality, in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, has emerged as one of China’s wealthiest places, with an economy driven by massive expansion of the local coal industry. This essay examines how this formerly poor region has experienced breakneck urban growth, becoming a resource-driven frontier boomtown. The frontier boomtown urbanism of Ordos highlights the impulse toward urban construction of the periphery that aspires to catch up with the metropolitan center and to articulate its own centrality through such urbanity.