Shanghai Disneyland isn’t the only massive real estate project Disney Co. is taking on. Besides the theme park (on which work has begun), there will be a town attached. I suppose it was naive to think anything with the word “park” in it could be built in China without being connected to a luxury housing estate.
Not that it’s particularly weird for Disney to take on projects that put residents close to its amusement parks. In the 1990s, the company helped develop the town of Celebration, Florida, a masterplanned community near the Walt Disney World Resort that mimicked “small town values” while embracing in vogue architects and some futuristic touches (i.e. neighborhood electric vehicles).
Similarly, the town planned to neighbor Shanghai Disneyland has some of that forward thinking – it plans to be “low carbon.” And the designers are familiar to anyone who actually wandered around the Urban Best Practices Area during Expo.
From Shanghai Daily:
The new town, designed with a countryside flavor, will cover an area of 4.6 square kilometers around Shanghai Disneyland, and will be able to accommodate 100,000 people after completion, said the designer, Zero Carbon System, which built and operated the London Zero Carbon Case Pavilion at the World Expo last year.
Total investment in the country’s first low-carbon town will reach 8.6 billion yuan (US$1.32 billion) and the project is expected to be completed in 2016, officials said.
The designer said most energy used in the new town will be from solar, wind and biomass sources. Meanwhile, water source heat pumps from the Huangpu River will cool residential buildings, commercial centers and other public facilities in the summer.
We actually had a chance to talk to the people at Zero Carbon last year and take photos of their London Case Pavilion, which we had the luck to find now. It may give an inkling of what the new Disney town will look like…
…that is, should the plans go through. We’ve been promised eco-friendly suburbs before, only to watch those plans disappear with nary an explanation. Does anyone else remember Dongtan?