Origins of Ecopolis: Urban growth and sustainability

Origins of Ecopolis: Urban growth
and sustainability
50% of the world’s population live in cities
By 2035 80%?
‘In cities all around the world, the holy grail at the
beginning of the 21st Century is sustainability’.
BBC news June 21st 2006
Is a radical programme of making our cities greener
places to live in a sustainable way to allow us to keep
living in cities?
Ecopolis-a city that follows sustainable ecological
principles with minimum footprint.
Dongtan, China, the world’s first Ecopolis : 80,000 will
live in a car-free, zero-emission, recycling city with an
ecological footprint 1/3 that emitted by people in
Dongtan is probably the biggest single building project in
the world, taking place in a country many see as the
biggest risk to the planet's green future.
The Concept of sustainability
• Sustainability is now the buzz word in all scales and facets of
planning and decision making as stress, ill health and loss of
revenue arises directly and indirectly from air pollution, traffic
congestion and inadequate housing.
• Definition: A settlement which meets the needs of its present
and future inhabitants and has a minimal ecological footprint.
• Sustainable urbanisation is one of the most pressing challenges
facing the global community in the 21st century.
• Sustainable development means improving the quality of life of a
population within the carrying capacity of Earth’s finite resources.
• Origins:The 1992 international `Earth Summit` in Rio de JaneiroAgenda 21, (national sustainable development strategies). Local
Agenda 21 (local authorities try to ‘do their bit’ for global issues).
Ecological Footprints
What? Ecological footprint analysis
approximates the amount of ecologically
productive land, sea and other water
mass area required to sustain a
population, manufacture a product, or
undertake certain activities.
How? by accounting the use of energy,
food, water, building materials, other
Unit? Usually convert these demands
into a measure of land area used in
'global hectares' (gha) per capita.
A sustainable footprint ? is 2.18 global
Inequalities? 2003 est average footprint
gha per capita :
USA 9.5gha
Switzerland 4 gha
China c. 1.5 gha -Shanghai=>7gha Dongtan <2.5?gha
UK 5.6, London= 6.63
Curitiba a public-spirited and ecoefficient city- in a LEDC!.
Population doubled to 1.6 million over the past 30
Curitiba, best planned city in Brazil ?
International model for sustainable development
The city's achievements are the result of strategic,
integrated urban planning. Strong leadership from
Overarching strategy covers all aspects of urban
planning, including social, economic and
environmental programs.
Curitiba's strategy focuses on putting people first
and on integrated planning, and these influences
are apparent in all aspects of the city.
The strategy underpins individual projects that
improve the environment, cut pollution and waste,
and improve quality of life
Mayor: Jaime
The mother of mega cities of the future?
Can it become sustainable?
Chinas urbanisation- a scale difficult to imagine!
In Asia, China's urbanisation has
followed the traditional ‘drivers’
experienced by the West.
Its industrial revolution is the most
rapid the world has seen.
Since economic reforms began in
1978, an est 150-200 m people
have migrated from rural to urban
areas to fill the jobs generated by
the economic explosion: + a
projection of at least 200m more –
’The biggest migration in human
It now has 90 cities of more than
one million inhabitants, -‘grey
places’, little known to the outside
Shanghai has an officially est
population of 17 m expected to
rise to 23 m by 2020
How to create Sustainability?
People don't willingly face up to change.
People don't voluntarily use less electricity
and less petrol because they know the next
man is not going to do that.
Sir Terry Farrell, architect and city planner
When President Hu Jintao took over in 2003,
searching questions began to be asked about
the trajectory of China’s development.
Since then a new policy emphasis on
“harmony between humanity and nature” and
on building “a conservation-oriented and
environment-friendly society”.
2006: Herbert Girardet
hailed the pioneering
project – planned for
Chongming island, near
Shanghai -- which could
provide a template for
future urban design…… 4
other ecocities may be
created such as Guangdon.
As China is planning to build
400 new cities in the next 20
yrs, Dongtan’s success is of
crucial importance!
China to build world's first
want to demonstrate in what
way this can happen without destabilising the world in terms of
emissions, pollution, resources,"
Dong Shanfeng, who oversees
the project for Arup.
Chongming Island- 45 km north of Shanghai.
Paddy fields, corn fields, crab ponds, wetlands.
Started summer 2006.
By 2010 3/4size of Manhattan, 50,000 pop.
By 2020 it will have 80,000 pop.
Aim: intended to absorb some of the millions moving to Shanghai.
Future expansion? A space 10 times the size has been set aside for
continuous development to 2050
What’s so special about Dongtan- a local
project with a global perspective?
To differ from Chinas track record of the urbanisation : pollution, traffic
congestion, social unrest
Showcase for foreign urban planners
Arup is the main designer
• Political significance the contract signed nov 2006 10 Downing Street
in the presence of the British prime minister, Tony Blair, and the visiting
Chinese president, Hu Jintao
Wetlands focus.
affordable Housing , all under 8 storeys
sustainable materials
Waste treated
clean-fuel vehicles.
No landfills
Renewable Energy
Local food sourcing
Dongtan-Innovative ideas?staggering targets!
• Ecologically sensitive design - Canals, lakes and marinas will run
through the city, with solar-powered water taxis.
• STAR Project – Sustainable Technologies and Renewables Project zero emissions -as near to carbon neutral as possible.
• Grey water NB The plan for golf courses?
• Buildings will be for mixed use, combining work and residential
areas minimise commuting.
• Sewage processed for irrigation and composting.
• Low rise buildings to reduce the ‘heat island effect’ which reduces
global warming emissions Turf and vegetation cover for roofs.
• The town has 6 times more space for pedestrians than
• The main aim is to keep the footprint down to 2.2hectares per
person (already 7 for average Shanghais- in USA it is 9.7).
Visitors will park their cars outside the city and use public transport to get
around inside the city
• The vitality of an ecosystem depends on its self-regulation abilitycan the authorities act as regulators in this ecocity?
Sources: include SIIC and Arup
Holiday haven for Shanghai’s
• The first phase of Dongtan Eco-City is conceived as a
town consisting of three compact, pedestrian “villages”,
each with its own distinct character: Marina, Lake and
• The city will then continue to grow as a collection of
towns connected by cycle routes and public transport
corridors, allowing inhabitants access to different parts of
the city by tram, bus and bicycle, as well as on foot.
• The aim is to ensure that people will have to walk for no
more than 7 minutes from any part of the city to reach a
bus or tram stop.[email protected]
Economic sustainability?
Dongtan's first phase, by 2010, will mainly house tourism industries - it is
believed millions of people will want to visit the city.
Further phases will become home to other industries including health.
It is hoped a centre linking modern western medical practices and Chinese
herbal medicine will be established.
Other sectors will cater for education and research as well as service
Initially, some of Dongtan's residents will commute to Shanghai for work, but
the goal is to provide employment for most of the island's residents. The
planners hope that ultimately companies will choose Dongtan as a place to
live and work
The initial phase will cost around £1.5bn, but the figures are expected to
rise into the double-digit billions.
But it's an optimistic signal from China that the ‘world's factory’ is serious
about doing something on global warming and sustainability
Beddington Zero fossil
Energy Development -
mixed-use scheme in Wallington, S. London
BedZED developed by London’s largest housing association, the Peabody
Arup consulting group was among the partners.
The scheme - 82 homes community facilities + workspace for 100 people and
2,500m² of commercial or living/work space.
Completed and occupied in 2002.
Objective - enable people to live sustainably without sacrificing a modern,
urban and mobile lifestyle.
Greener construction material:
- Local construction materials: 52% of the construction materials were sourced from within a
35 mile radius of the construction site.
- Reuse of construction materials:15% (3,404 tonnes) of the construction materials used
were reclaimed or recycled.
- Renewable materials: timber not uPVC window frames saved nearly 800 tonnes of CO2
emissions, some 12.5% of the total CO2 for the scheme.
Bedzed after 1 year
The Chinese decision to
use UK architects in
Dongtan followed a visit
to BedZED in 2005 by the
Chinese Government’s
Environmental Protection
and Resources
Conservation Committee
Data from ETAP
new homes
upto 2002
Space heating
88% (73%)
Hot water
57% (44%)
Mains water
Fossil Fuel car

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