Western values

oldwest w

The New York Times visited a resort community this week where more than 1,000 families were living the ‘American Dream’. The surprise was its location: around 20 miles north of the Great Wall of China, and a 90-minute commute to Beijing. Welcome to Jackson Hole, or ‘Hometown America’ (as its known in Chinese). Designed to look like an American frontier town from a couple of centuries ago, it has a wooden church and streets with names like Route 66. The developer, Ju Yi International, claims that 90% of the 1,500 homes are sold (they start at $625,000 but the fanciest – which have vineyards attached – are priced as high as $8 million). Residents are drawn by the sense of community and Americana on offer. One 42 year-old homeowner told the New York Times: “America represents wilderness and freedom, and also big houses. America is cool.”

Another told the paper: “This place may not be exactly like America, but it’s definitely not like a lot of places in China. In the city, you can live in a place for years and never know the person who lives across the hall from you.” The developer said the decision to build a ‘little America’ had nothing to do with politics, only that it had already exhausted other options, namely European-themed residential complexes.

Still, the New York Times cannot lay claim to having ‘discovered’ Jackson Hole. A quick web search shows Foreign Policy profiled the place in late 2011 and The Atlantic wrote about it last year.

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