Shanghaiist has just had the dubious pleasure of experiencing Guangzhou rush hour — and even now, hours later, we still reek of eau de exhaust. So imagine how thrilled we were to hear that Dongtan (东滩) Chongming Island (崇明岛) right off Shanghai at the mouth of the Yangtze River, is going to become the site of the world’s first eco-city. Here’s an excerpt from the press release.
Arup, the global planning, engineering and design consultancy, has signed a contract with Shanghai Industrial Investment Corporation (SIIC) to plan the world’s first sustainable city — an eco-city — at Dongtan, in Shanghai, China.
SIIC has appointed Arup as a strategic partner to work with them in the development of Dongtan as a dynamic, liveable and eco-friendly city, which will in turn define the future of sustainable urban development in China and beyond.
Arup’s approach to integrated sustainable urban planning and design will help to turn SIIC’s vision into reality and will create a city with lower energy consumption and one which is as close to being carbon neutral as possible within economic constraints.
According to the report, the city will be three-quarters the size of Manhattan, and will soon be linked up with Shanghai via what will become the world’s longest suspension bridge, plus a tunnel.
And just who are Arup? Check out their website and fish around a bit for their projects in China, and you’ll find that they’re involved in everything from the new CCTV building to new designs for Chongqing’s airport. A lot of these are facelifts that have much to do with the 2008 Beijing Olympics as well as the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.
Shanghaiist read some comments on the web to the effect that China should be applauded for taking on such a bold and ambitious project in the name of sustainable development. Frankly speaking, Shanghaiist is not that optimistic: we recommend that you read The River Runs Black, the excellent book by Elizabeth C. Economy on China’s severe environmental problems. This books focuses not so much on the science but on how problems do or don’t get solved, i.e., the politics of environmental conservation. For some heavy duty scientific analysis of China’s environment, you can’t go wrong with the work of the brilliant Vaclav Smil, author of several seminal studies in this field. Shanghaiist’s analysis, on the other hand, is less subtle, but has the virtue of brevity: China’s environment is f*cked up.