Versatile Urban Design: China’s Roadblock Toward Energy Sustainability

Studying neighborhoods in Jinan, China, MIT urban studies and planning Professor Dennis Frenchman told MITnews that the country’s biggest challenge is its homogenous urban design.

Frenchman explained in an interview with MITnews how China has tried to reach energy sustainability and its systemic contradictions to that goal:

"The biggest city-planning challenge that China now faces is to encourage a different form of urbanization than the design model currently being built," said Frenchman.

"Right now, policymakers in China tend to think about improving the energy efficiency of development by seeking 'the perfect form.' And they're very oriented around a top-down structure: Tell developers what they need to do."

"Our work has shown that (China's) way of living (tower-in-a-park model) consumes almost twice as much energy as any other form of development, such as, for example, a conventional, mixed-use urban neighborhood on a grid of streets and blocks."

Full Story: 3 Questions: Dennis Frenchman on making cities sustainable

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