New Chinese Eco-City Aims to be Practical, not Perfect

Malcolm Moore reports on Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco City, the world's largest eco-city, where residents will be guinea pigs as planners experiment with the city around them.
March 20, 2012, 8am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Located just 30 minutes from Beijing by high-speed train, Tianjin looks very much like any other Chinese city on the surface: "shrouded in smog and depressingly grey," writes Moore. However, its ordinary appearance belies the progressive experiments being tested in the city. And according to Moore, "If a few of the small changes adopted in Tianjin were rolled out nationwide, the results could dramatically change China's devastating impact on the environment."

Some of the innovating technologies being tested in the city are electric driverless cars, a low energy lighting system, and trash cans that empty themselves.

Practicality, adaptability, and commercial viability are the goals guiding the city's technological experiments.

"Our eco-city is an experiment, but it is also practical," said Wang Meng, the deputy director of construction. "There are over 100 eco-cities in the world now, and they are all different. If you look at the one in Abu Dhabi, they spent a huge amount of money and bought a lot of technology. It is very grand, but is it useful?"

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Published on Monday, March 19, 2012 in The Telegraph
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