Perhaps it won't be nearly as flashy as the sustainable city that oil wealth is building in the United Arab Emirates called Masdar or even the Shanghai satellite called Dongtan, but in breaking ground on Tianjin's Eco-city, China is hoping to find a model for the many cities it needs to build to accommodate massive rural-to-urban migration.
China partners with Singapore for wind and solar "prowess"
As with the term sustainability, the idea of an eco-city is pretty murky - nobody's making cities conform to strict principles in building or giving out an eco-city label, though WWF's One Planet Living is blessing projects that conform to their fairly robust 10 criteria. So China, which is partnering with Singapore to build Taijin Eco-City, can use what it calls the "three harmonies" principle to guide its creation of a new city 40 kilometers away from the existing city of Tianjin.Those three harmonies are people-people, people-environment and people-economy. The 30-square-kilometer site for the Tianjin Eco-City is currently 'wasted space' - low-quality salt flats unsuitable for agriculture that will be reclaimed to build the city. This use of non-agricultural land was one of Singapore's criteria for being part of the project. The other criteria was that the city be planned in a water-scarce area. Restoring quality to the Jiyun river that will run along the new city of 350,000 will occupy environmentalists for the first years of the city's development.
With Singapore's help, China hopes to extensively use solar and wind power, rainwater recycling, as well as wastewater treatment and desalination of sea water at Tianjin Eco-City. Last month, work started on the transport infrastructure and last week on a small 4-square-kilometer inner city site. China has pledged that 90 percent of traffic within the city will be public transport, but it hasn't adopted a "zero CO2 emissions" strategy or even said that it will limit the number of cars allowed. Tianjin will also feature what officials have called an "Eco-valley" serving as a north-south green connector in the city. Via ::Strait Times
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