A potential template for green cities, on part of the 1,230-sq-kilometer Chongming Island in the Yangtze River, north of Shanghai, could start construction later this year. The start-up phase for Dongtan, tentatively planned for completion by 2020, might extend to 630 hectares. The town’s population could reach 80,000.
Dongtan’s planned “ecological footprint,” the amount of biologically productive land and water needed for human life, is within 20% of the recent world average of 2.2 global hectares per person. In some big cities, environmental consumption reaches 13 gha per person, notes London-based Arup Group Ltd., Dongtan’s planner for the municipally controlled Shanghai Industrial Investment Corp. (SIIC).
Energy use in some buildings would be 60% less than the current Shanghai norm. Use of 100% renewable energy as well as powering road vehicles with electricity and hydrogen would slash Dongtan’s carbon output. But the planning does not envisage dramatic reductions in carbon emission during production of construction materials. No single element of Dongtan will be “surprising,” but elements are integrated holistically, says Peter Head, Arup’s sustainability director.
Dongtan has already attracted attention. SIIC has asked Arup to work on three other projects, for Jinan, Langfang and Huzhou. And London Mayor Ken Livingstone was reportedly so impressed that he launched a mini version bordering the Thames River.