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BIG LIST: Weird Cities

BIG LIST: Weird Cities

Friday 23 March 2012, 10:02AM

Apparently you can pick up an entire town for an absolute bargain in the US at the moment – but here are a few cities you might think twice about visiting, let alone purchasing:

What a dump:

Manshiyat Naser is a city with zero unemployment, extremely cheap housing and a populace that mostly describe themselves as “happy”. But looking at a picture of this charming little utopia (above), you could be forgiven for thinking it was shot in an apocalyptic montage. That’s because it’s an entire society based solely around trash. Manshiyat Naser is located right next to Cairo, one of the largest cities on the African continent, and Manshiyat Naser is little more than Cairo’s rubbish dump; which makes the city’s inhabitants like one giant hobo living in a comically oversized dumpster.

Oompa loompa land:

China. Political correctness. Because we’re morally not allowed to put those terms in the same sentence, it’s fair to say being a minority there isn’t exactly all talent competitions and inspirational after-school specials. Well, one man decided to give little people a place where they could join together to escape the bullying – by living their entire lives on display in the world’s first live-in theme park. The citizens of Dwarf City, outside the city of Kunming in Yunnan province, live in houses shaped like mushrooms, dress up in fairy tale outfits and make their living off of souvenirs and tourism, and even boast a miniature police force, fire brigade and political system.

Crime density:

Located just outside Hong Kong, Kowloon Walled City is where Chinese laws went to die. When the British went to clear the area in 1948, they failed so spectacularly that everybody, English and Chinese, adopted an official policy of simply forgetting about the god-forsaken hell-hole. And to everybody’s mutual surprise, the Walled City absolutely thrived on the anarchy. The city was only .03 square kilometres, yet housed roughly 33,000 people, making it the most densely populated area in world history. Citizens even jury-rigged up their own water and electric grids, and though it looked like Tim Burton was their city planner, it mostly worked, until it was eventually torn down 30 years later.


Back in 1945, the USSR discovered oil just off the coast of Azerbaijan. Of course at that point in history, no one had ever built an offshore oil rig before. Not to be deterred by minor considerations such as reason, the USSR went ahead and built a massive multiplatform oil rig. When even more oil was discovered right next door, they didn’t bother with a whole new platform; they just retired a boat, bolted it to the existing platform and started working on it – and continued in this fashion until they wound up with Oily Rocks, a gargantuan city of 5,000 oil workers, with over 200 kilometres worth of road built into the middle of the Caspian Sea. 

World domination:

In 2003, Dubai’s economy was raging, and they were sporting more hasty erections than a seventh grade gym class. You could build anything in that city, not in spite of your structure defying logic, but because of it. Such was the attitude when the Nakheel Company set out to create a series of new islands in the shape of a scale map of the entire world, which they creatively named ‘The World’. The private world-islands were completed in 2008. Which was exactly when Dubai’s economy finally tanked. Nobody ever moved onto the islands, and the whole thing has just been sitting vacant ever since, slowly sinking back into the sea.

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