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MIT Researchers Finally Figured Out How Many Ghost Cities There Are in China

Over the last several decades, China's meteoric rise to the top of the global economy has brought about many things, including a lightning-speed pace of development. Between 2011 and 2013 alone, China used more concrete than the United States used throughout the entire 20th century.

However, while Chinese developers have wasted no time building whole towns in anticipation of a real estate boom, that influx of residents has never come, leaving scores of large-scale housing complexes, office buildings and other infrastructure sitting empty and unused.

Until now, no one has succeeded in effectively counting these Chinese 'ghost cities', but thanks to a recent study published in the MIT Technology Review, researchers can now pinpoint where these unoccupied settlements are and just how many exist.

Using data mined from Baidu, a Chinese version of Google, the folks at MIT were able to pinpoint exactly where people were and where they were not, reports Gizmodo.

All told, China turns out to have somewhere over 50 of these unoccupied settlements, though researchers only released the names of 20 so as not to affect real estate in the other cities.

What's interesting, however, is that in addition to discovering new ghost cities, the study also found that some places previously considered ghost cities, like the Inner Mongolian town of Ordos, turned out instead to be settlements with seasonal residents rather than true ghost cities.

Either way, China could stand to ease up on the city building for a while; they've got plenty to spare for the moment.

[Photo via IBTimes]

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