China's Housing Tries to Go Green, but Fails

A so-called "eco-friendly" apartment complex complete with solar panels that derives more than 90% of its energy needs from coal? China struggles to take sustainable development seriously.
July 21, 2012, 9am PDT | Andrew Gorden
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As one of the world's most polluted nations, with its fast-expanding cities filling with polluting factories and ports, and clogged with automobiles, China is struggling to find the balance between cost-effective affordable development and expensive, but much needed, environmentally and health-friendly construction. As Calum MacLeod, of USA Today reports, "China is building more eco-cities designed to be low-carbon and energy-saving than any other country, according to a survey by the University of Westminster in London. The USA ranked second."

Still, "China's buyers don't appear to be motivated by environmentalism," notes MacLeod. Instead, basic needs trump sustainability.

Many projects appear stalled and are nothing more than "promotional gimmicks by commercial developers," says MacLeod. "Housing Vice Minister Qiu Baoxing said the eco-city concept has been overused in China, and some projects actually damaged the environment, reported the state-run Xinhua News Agency."

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Published on Sunday, July 15, 2012 in USA Today
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