Greening China's 'SuperBlocks'

<p>Rapid economic and physical development are posing problems for China's environment. But a new eco-friendly development model may soon replace the heavily resource-reliant "SuperBlock" development pattern.</p>
November 4, 2007, 11am PST | Nate Berg
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"Coming soon to a market near you is a zero-carbon property, surrounded by a meandering stream that treats your wastewater and recycles it to you. The heat from the sun generates enough electricity to power the entire house. The green roof and smart walls of the house provide natural, radiant heating and cooling. You and your neighbors will bike or walk to work; you'll also have the option to car-share any of the electric vehicles at their charging stations."

"This home of the future is coming, but you'll find it in China before it springs up in the U.S."

"In a country where an estimated 60 percent of sewage is discharged untreated, a population that's soaring, and the rate of environmental destruction at an all time high, global warming pollution the cause for almost half a million deaths, with environmental damage costing China to the tune of $200 billion a year, they have reason to stop and make some serious changes."

"This request alone marked a significant detour from the current model used for urban residential development in China: the SuperBlock, a model that relies on a centralized infrastructure of power plants and electric power lines, sewage treatment plants and sewers, and a sanitary water supply provided by the city or provincial utilities. These are typically gated communities with few entry points, and very little attention is placed on creating resource-efficient homes in the SuperBlock model. With 11 million SuperBlock units under construction per year, and it becomes clear how significant a toll these communities are taking on China's environment."

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Published on Friday, November 2, 2007 in GreenBiz
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