Matthew Robare has the story of Tianjin Eco-city, on which China and Singapore spent a total of $6.5 billion dollars to build:
Unfortunately, as both a city and as a model of sustainable development, Tianjin Eco-city has all the hallmarks of failure. One doesn’t even need to read the articles about how difficult it’s been to convince people to move there, or the inconveniences they face when they do, to see why. A glance through the image gallery reveals everything: grandiose buildings on huge setbacks, wide roads clearly designed for speed, green space—not parks—forming buffers on sidewalks and highway medians and all overseen by the aforementioned apartment towers.
It’s Le Corbusier with solar panels. That sort of city, built from scratch and at such a scale to crush the human life out of a city, designed around the car at highway speeds and the misguided belief that mere open space (inevitably converted into parking sooner or later) was better than any place could be, comprises the heart of decades of urban failure in the West.
Statists will never quit trying to make human beings conform to their grand visions, no matter how many billions of dollars — or millions of lives — they destroy in the effort.
But, according to Tom Friedman, at least Beijing was able to decide and move quickly. And, according to Paul Krugman, at least Beijing spent billions of dollars on something.
Because pouring money down the well of central planning is the path to prosperity — just ask the residents of Tianjin Eco-city.