What the World Spawns

Centralia, PA Tom Vazquez

...is kind of crazy. And here are some of the weirdest, urban eco-systems it has created.

Trying to remember exactly what an eco-system is? Yeah, us too. According to Wikipedia: An ecosystem is a community of living organisms (plants, animals and microbes) in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment (things like air, water and mineral soil), interacting as a system.

This article profiles 10 urban eco-systems, one of which is made up of approximately 500 dogs that live in the Moscow Subway. They beg from passengers, ride the trains - and disembark at their intended station. In this crew, the smartest, not the biggest or strongest, dog leads the pack.

Completely unorganic is Thames Town, a village 20 miles outside of Shanghai, China that has been created to look - and function - exactly like a quaint, British town. The developers are trying to get British High Street retailers in to complete the picture. We're not sure about the NHS.

Quietly horrifying is Centralia, Pennsylvania, USA, where in 1962, sanitation workers were burning trash and accidentally set fire to a disused coal mine. The fire has been burning ever since, and is expected to last up to 250 years. The town has been evacuated, save a few residents who like not having to shovel their sidewalks in the winter and refuse to leave.

Quietly inspiring is the Snow Castle in Kemi, Finland, which is rebuilt every year. The art gallery, restaurant, hotel and chapel seems a bit more elegant than other annual ice structures around the world, especially now that we know local-power-metal-band-made-big, Sonata Arctica, played there a few years ago.

Read about the rest of the wild eco-systems here.