Image courtesy of Tim Johnson/MCT
Eager to put on its best green face ahead of the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, China has been working hard to make Dongtan, its planned for eco-city, a reality. With groundbreaking not expected to occur until next year, Chinese officials hope to at least be able to lay down an ambitious, truly sustainable vision for the world to see during next year's Beijing Games - one that would help partially counter their country's much maligned environmental image. That won't be easy.
According to McClatchy's Tim Johnson, developers are threatening to "hijack the plan" in an effort to make some green by raising property values. Musings about a possible Disney theme park and other attractions have raised concerns about the project's future direction; as it stands, the eco-city's plans would call for battery-powered buses; solar-powered water taxis; dense neighborhoods; and rooftop gardens, amongst other features. As Tim Johnson goes on to elaborate, Dongtan's vision would go beyond simply designing an energy-efficient, recycling-friendly utopia:
"Plans call for urban "food factories," where organic vegetables can be grown with hydroponic techniques, employing liquid from the city's waste stream. Rice husks will power biomass generators for electricity, while human waste will be treated as a resource, recycled into biogas energy.
Greenery will be everywhere. A broad variety of native vegetation will be introduced to line canals and streets — and even rooftops — bringing an array of butterflies, insect and bird life into the city."
It remains to be seen, however, whether the end product will look the indoor model currently being showcased on Chongming Island; as would be expected for any such large-scale projects, there are several competing visions at work, with some more focused on the city's profit potential - see Disney theme park - than on its ecological footprint. Some planners are practically giddy over the prospects of luring rich Shanghai residents to the island to purchase huge vacation homes.
The planners' goal is to have a demonstration village with 10,000 people up and running by 2010, just in time for the World Expo that will be hosted in nearby Shanghai. They expect to have 80,000 residents by 2020 and half a million by 2050.
Via ::McClatchy: 'Eco-city' in China gives off aroma of green — money (news website)