Dongtan City - Still on the drawing-board

The Economist gives an update on the supposed eco-city Dongtan, being built on an island outside Shanghai. After the downfall of corrupt former Shanghai party chief Chen Liangyu, one of the main backers of the project, construction has largely stalled:

A noticeable loser is Dongtan. Designed by Arup, a British design firm, to house 500,000 people, by 2010, when Shanghai hosts the World Expo, on a 8,600-hectare (21,250-acre) site, it was billed as a low-carbon alternative to urban sprawl and a blueprint for other eco-cities.

But four years on, not a single green building has gone up on the site. Arup’s Roger Wood says SIIC has opted to put construction on hold, pending further permits. He denies, however, that the project has been cancelled.
A new bridge and tunnel spanning the estuary is already completed and will open to traffic later this year. That should boost land prices on Chongming, and may give SIIC a nudge to develop—or sell—the Dongtan site.

It also raises the question, however, of what constitutes an eco-city.

Arup had envisaged a compact, mostly car-free community. Residents would live and work in green research centres and other such industries, buy local produce and use renewable energy. The new road link, however, puts Shanghai within commuting distance.

For more on eco-cities around the world visit:

Dongtan Eco City
Masdar City
Zhuhai Green City

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