Tuesday, April 29, 2014

China and U.A.E Are Building Eco Cities

Timo Karjalainen

What's Happening?

While people in U.S. and Europe are building and developing zero-energy houses, in China and United Arab Emirates, they are building sustainable cities. That’s right, sustainable cities, not just sustainable houses or small scale housing, but huge cities. 

Masdar Project

Currently in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, there is a completely new city being constructed that will house 50000 inhabitants in an area of 6 square kilometers. After its construction, it will be the first completely carbon neutral and zero waste city in the world.
One of the biggest goals of the project is to make Masdar City into the global leader for renewable energy research, development, implementation and investment. This is a great start. The success or failure of this project will determine how willing we will be to construct more of these grand scale eco-cities.

Masdar Project. Photo: Adam Dean


Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city

Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city is a cooperative project between Singapore and China to build a sustainable city in Tianjin, China. The area is located between Beijing and Tianjin, 50 km from Tianjin and 150 km from Beijing. When completed in 2020, the area will inhabit around 350000 residents. The project is based two sets of three principles: Three Harmonies and Three Abilities. The Three Harmonies are: people living in harmony with other people, people living in harmony with economic activities, and people living in harmony with the environment. The Three Abilities are: commercial viability, the project should be replicated in other place in China and around the world, and the size should be adaptable to any scale. The site was cleverly chosen to be built on a non-agricultural area. This means that no potential farm land was taken away. The site, however, is located in an area that receives very little rain water and has no viable freshwater sources nearby. This means that the only source of fresh water is to build a desalination plant.

Sino-Singapore Tiajin Eco-city. http://architecture.myninjaplease.com/?p=1267


The Future

These eco-cities are not being built just to show-off, but they are being built out of necessity. As your might have guessed, the countries who are taking the first steps are the ones who have the capital to try and fail. The United Arab Emirates have gotten very rich by exploiting their rich reserves of oil, but they also understand that the age of petroleum will come to an end and they have to start building for the future.

Chinese economy is one of the largest in the world and they also have the largest population in the world and they are investing very heavily in new eco-cities. To build these cities we need to discover new materials, techniques and technologies. If the only thing standing in our way is our own lack of vision, then there shouldn’t be anything standing in our way. 



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