Both towns are described in a wonderful book I came across in Almere at the International New Town Institute. It is called Rising in the East: Contemporary New Towns in Asia and includes dozens of photos that have to be seen to be believed. http://www.sunarchitecture.nl/
Many of these new towns have been designed by international firms, including some from Canada. In the case of Songjiang, nine of them are themed based on other places around the world. In addition to the English and German towns, there is also a Dutch town that looks quite Dutch!
Thames Town was mostly vacant when I was there in 2010, other than for the dozens of brides and grooms who were using the town as a setting for their wedding photos. Anting seemed a bit more occupied, altho many of the contemporary facades were being torn down and rebuilt. Sadly, the buildings were surrounded by drywall rubble despite the fact that the buildings were quite new.
When I commented on the number of Volkswagens parked along the streets I was told there was in fact a large VW plant nearby. As Tom Friedman has often said, the world is flat!
Here are a few photos of Anting
When I was in Thames Town my mouth started to water when I passed the Thamestown, a neighbourhood B&B and pub. I offered to take my hosts inside for a steak and kidney pie and a pint of Palmers bitter...only to discover that the inside was empty...there was nothing there! Indeed, most of Thames Town is empty...nothing more than a facade. One day no doubt it will fill up, but for the moment it must depend on wedding photographers and their subjects.