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Huangbaiyu and Sustainable China
Alex Steffen, 6 Oct 05

There is no green Chinese future without green Chinese cities and villages, and there is no bright green future for the planet without a greening China The case could be made that how China grows its cities and revitalizes its villages over the next twenty years may well prove one of pivots on which our hopes for a bright green future turn. We've covered ally Bill McDonough's vision for the Huangbaiyu Cradle-to-Cradle Village. Now, Newsweek profiles the project and the man:

If McDonough's method could be summed up in a phrase, it might be to leave nothing to chance. In each of the six cities, he is starting with a thorough examination of the land to be developed. He figures out how rainwater runs off and enters aquifers, how animals migrate, what plants grow where. He studies sunlight angles and wind patterns. Then he sketches in parks, which interconnect so citizens can walk or ride bicycles from one to the next and wildlife can carry on without disruption. Next comes the plan for the infrastructure, beginning with the angle of the streets. He slants them at a 15-degree angle to the winds in order to break up cold winter blasts and help keep city air clean. And orienting them on a diagonal rather than a rigid east-west grid also maximizes the sunlight that reaches apartments year-round. The cities are zoned for mixed residential, commercial and industrial use to ensure that transportation connects residences to the workplaces. Shops will be on the ground floor, residences above, and the rooftops will have farm plots. Bridges over the streets will connect the plots. The farmers will live downstairs. Energy efficiency will be maximized through new types of building materials and a solar-powered energy grid.

(Thanks, Shannon!)

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I do not believe you can have a green China without a *just* China. Although the project addresses issues of land reform and employment, they are treated as incidental consequences rather than important goals equal to environmental issues, such as the recyclability of construction materials. Designers working for sustainable solutions to Chinese environmental issues must also address the devastating corruption of the Communist Party and their violent reactions to existing Chinese environmental, labor, and democractic movements. If McDonough does not directly consider the social issues of rural China than his project will not resolve the twisted relationsip of Chinese industry and urban development with the environment.

Posted by: Eli on 7 Oct 05

Something that stunned me recently was to see the Chinese government deciding to build an entire sustainable and clean city (WC had a piece about this), but at the same time it recently decided that coal liquefaction will become the biggest investment post of the Chinese dept. of energy! China's caught in some very bizarre dynamic, creating contradictory policies on a continuous basis.
Good to have WC looking at both sides of the coin.

Posted by: Lorenzo on 7 Oct 05

Oh come off it all it is is a gimmick to keep upwardly mobile chinese in china and happy.

Its nothing more then the planned cties and planned towns and communties of the late 18th and early 19th century.

A place to put happy wealthy chinese far away from the grime of coal power plants.

The chinese learned a great deal from america and it shows.

Posted by: wintermane on 7 Oct 05



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