(Roughly) Daily

How ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm?…

As the U.N. affirms, 3.5 billion people on earth– over half the world’s population– live in cities, and urbanization is growing.  So it’s not surprising that there are, as io9 reports,  some pretty strange pockets among the sprawl around the globe…

There are the novel, for instance…

Thames Town

This quaint English village, housing 10,000 people, is just 20 miles outside the center of Shanghai, and a new rail system puts it just 15 minutes from downtown, as part of a rapidly expanding Greater Shanghai. Thames Town was designed to look exactly like a bucolic English town, complete with red brick buildings, a sandstone church, a village green, a market square, and a pub. But it’s not a theme park – developers insist it’s a real residential community. As the Independent wrote:

Residents can sip their bitter in a traditional English pub, “The Thames Town”, as children scamper across the medieval market square to a bilingual school, while red-brick warehouses form a commercial area on the waterfront. Developers are targeting British companies such as Tesco and Sainsbury to add to the authentic high-street feel so the town’s…10,000 residents can shop in true British style. There are sporting facilities and everything a town of its size should have.

Watch a Youtube video of the place here.

And there are the horrifying…

Centralia, PA

In 1962, sanitation workers in this town began setting fire to some garbage, near a disused mine opening. The fire spread to a rich underground seam of coal, igniting a blaze that has been going for decades and could continue for up to 250 years according to some experts. The fire expanded and mutated like an amoeba. At first it was nice — the town’s residents no longer had to shovel snow off their sidewalks and tomatoes grew in the middle of winter. But then trees started dying and after a child nearly fell down a sinkhole full of carbon monoxide in 1981, the town was evacuated. Now, only a few stubborn residents remain despite efforts to evacuate them. (And rumor has it this town was the inspiration for the video game Silent Hill.)

More?  Explore the “10 Weirdest Urban Ecosystems on Earth.”

As we remember that it’s “location, location, location,” we might recall that it was on this date in 1889, at noon, that The Land Run of 1889 began in what we now know as the State of Oklahoma.  Within hours, both Oklahoma City and Guthrie were populated, each with over 10,000 residents.  As William Willard Howard reported later that year in Harper’s Weekly:

Unlike Rome, the city of Guthrie was built in a day. To be strictly accurate in the matter, it might be said that it was built in an afternoon. At twelve o’clock on Monday, April 22d [sic], the resident population of Guthrie was nothing; before sundown it was at least ten thousand. In that time streets had been laid out, town lots staked off, and steps taken toward the formation of a municipal government.


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