Located just over an hour from Beijing by 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?"