Dongtan

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Dongtan
Country China
Municipality Shanghai
County Chongming
Elevation 0 - 4 m (-13 ft)
Location of Dongtan in Chongming County

Dongtan (simplified Chinese: 东滩; traditional Chinese: 東灘; pinyin: Dōngtān) is a new eco-city planned for the island of Chongming in Shanghai, China. The name of the city literally translates as "East Beach".

Dongtan was designed by Arup, a British engineering firm, and is being built on a major wetland site that was formerly used for small-scale agriculture and by migrating water birds.

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[edit] Population

Dongtan was planned to open, with accommodation for 50,000, in time for the Expo 2010 in Shanghai. By 2040, the city is slated to be one-third the size of Manhattan, with a total planned population of 500,000. The project has fallen behind schedule, with Arup's architects expecting only a tenth of the expected population to be in place by 2010.

[edit] Design

Dongtan was presented at the United Nations World Urban Forum by China as an example of an eco-city, and is the first of up to four such cities to be designed and built in China by Arup. The cities are planned to be ecologically friendly, with zero-greenhouse-emission transit and complete self-sufficiency in water and energy, together with the use of zero energy building principles. Energy demand will be substantially lower than comparable conventional cities due to the high performance of buildings and a zero emission transport zone within the city. Waste is considered to be a resource and most of the city's waste will be recycled. However, the planned ecological footprint for each citizen in Dongtan is currently 2.2 hectares[1], higher than the 1.9 hectares that the World Wildlife Fund claims is theoretically sustainable on a global scale.

Dongtan proposes to have only green transport movements along its coastline. People will arrive at the coast and leave their cars behind, traveling along the shore as pedestrians, cyclists or on sustainable public transport vehicles. The only vehicles allowed in the city will be powered by electricity or hydrogen. Houses are now selling here to Shanghai middle classes for use when spending weekends away from the city. The Controlling authorities are now backtracking on these commitments and allowing private vehicles onto the site.

EPSRC, the UK funding body for academic research, is supporting four Dongtan research networks of UK and Chinese universities to study the research agenda for eco-city design. Arup is assisting in the coordination of these networks and in planning associated Institutes for Sustainability.

[edit] Reaction

The reaction to Dongtan has been mixed, although recent media coverage has largely been negative due to delays and shortcomings in the project's execution.

Former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone praised Dongtan as pioneering work leading to a more sustainable future[2]. His sentiments were echoed by other prominent British politicians, including Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, although, notably, none of them has ever visited the site.[3]

Critics have argued that Dongtan will not have a big impact on existing Chinese cities, which will still house the majority of the population.[4]

The main builders, Arup, are also taking part in many less environmentally-friendly projects in China, including airports and office blocks. Arup recently received the Greenwash award from the Ethical Corporation Magazine for the most dubious green claim of the year, with Dongtan described as a Potemkin village.[5]

Currently the project seems stalled as the UK's Daily Telegraph reported that the land use term has expired (in China the land use term is 3 years) and Arup, the developers, have stopped responding to journalists' questions about the project.[6] Work seems to have come to halt in 2008. The future of the project seems unclear.

[edit] Twinned accords

[edit] See also

[edit] References

[edit] External links

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