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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.
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.
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, 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.
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. 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.
Critics have argued that Dongtan will not have a big impact on existing Chinese cities, which will still house the majority of the population.
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.
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. Work seems to have come to halt in 2008. The future of the project seems unclear.
 Twinned accords
- Thames Gateway region, UK
 See also
- ^ "Market and environment": an article
- ^ Arup press release: "London looks to the East for inspiration to cut emissions"
- ^ Telegraph: China's Dongtan demise is mirrored by bad news for Britain's eco-towns
- ^ chinadialogue, 中国与世界，环境危机大家谈 - article about China and urban sustainability
- ^ Ethical Corporation blog: Arup and Dongtan, worthy winner of Greenwasher of the year
- ^ Telegraph: China's pioneering eco-city of Dongtan stalls
 External links
- Project home page
- Arup press release
- WBCSD news article
- Guardian newspaper article
- Green Building Press article
- Wired magazine feature 2007-04-27
- IEEE Spectrum article 2007-07
- Biz China Update - Chinese Cities Add "Eco-Franchise" to Urban Planning Wish List
- China Economic Review - Dongtan: Eco-Potemkin
- Climate Change Corp - Dongtan update - the paranoia sets in while the carbon footprint expands
- Dongtan – The line changes on the greenwash eco city in China
- Shanghaiist - Whatever happened to Dongtan?
- Building - Corruption scandal delays Dongtan by two years
- Whatever happened to the Dongtan eco-city?
- China's pioneering eco-city of Dongtan stalls - Daily Telegraph
- - In China, overambition reins in eco-city plans - Christian Science Monitor
- - Treehugger.com - Dongtan, China's Flagship Ecocity Project, R.I.P.