Friday, June 25, 2010

After eco-city Dongtan: looking for a modest way to sustainability - Paul French

paulfrenchPaul French by Fantake via Flickr
China might be rocking on mega-events like the Beijing Olympics or the Shanghai World Expo, the failed eco-city Dongtan in Shanghai, originally meant to be part of the World Expo, failed dramatically. In the New York Times Paul French is one of the experts, commenting on its demise.
The director of market research comnpany Access Asia calls it "dead in the water" in the New York Times:
The reasons these plans did not come to fruition are now well known. Among them, said Mr. French, was confusion over who — Arup, the giant British engineering company commissioned to design the sustainable city, or Shanghai Industrial Investment, the state-owned developer — would actually fund Dongtan. “The government thought that Arup was going to pay for this and Arup thought the government was going to pay for this, and it turned out that nobody was going to pay for it,” Mr. French said.
The project was further stalled when Chen Liangyu, the former Shanghai Communist Party chief and Dongtan’s primary political backer, was sentenced in 2008 to 18 years in prison on corruption charges...
Mr. French: "So what if you’ve built this eco-city, if down the road, within spitting distance, is a city of 19 million people that is so unsustainable it’s unbelievable?” he said.
Buildings in Shanghai continue to spring up without loft insulation or double glazing. “Just fixing that would reduce electricity massively,” Mr. French said. “Not everything has to be an Expo or an Olympics. We need to start with the small stuff. We need to start improving the cities we’ve already got.”
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Paul French is speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do let us know.
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