Posts Tagged: Masdar City



EcoCities and Cable: Tianjin Ecocity (Photos Summer 2011 Status)

On a recent trip to China, I had the opportunity to visit a site that few planners outside of China have yet to see. First announced in 2008, Tianjin Ecocity is a large, ecological development designed to encourage sustainable building and living practices and promote future “green” developments. Not to mention this is possibly the dream project of every modern day planner.

Located about a 90 minutes drive from the city centre, this model of sustainable urbanization is currently being built from scratch on 30 square kilometers of prime real estate. Upon completion in 2020 it is expected to house 350,000 residents, while some residents will be able to move in as early as next year.

However, 2020 is a long ways off. As we’ve seen in the past many ecocities fail to materialize (i.e. Dongtan in Shanghai) over time. So… is this place really being constructed?

You bet it is! Check it out:

Cranes, cranes galore. This is what you first see at when you drive in to Tianjin... or really any major Chinese city. Image by Nick Chu.

EcoCity proudly welcomes you. A joint venture between the Chinese and Singaporean governments. Image by Nick Chu.

I was taken aback when I realized that the EcoCity acts as a tourist site for families. Has eco-consciousness finally reached the masses in China? Or is it simply a new fad? Image by Nick Chu.

As expected, solar panels are just about everywhere you look. Image by Nick Chu.

National Animation Industry Park. Image by Nick Chu.

You can’t possibly have an EcoCity without jobs. So here it is, the National Animation Industry Park – a massive building that is expected to house over 180 animation companies. Anecdotal evidence suggests a lot of nearby industries are already in operation as well.

But what’s a city without homes? Check out these model suites! Pretty sweet patio, eh? Let’s see what’s inside… Image by Nick Chu.

Nicely decorated! Look at the furnishings… admittedly, it wasn’t what I'd expect in the middle of China. Image by Nick Chu.

Of course, living sustainably will set you back a couple of bucks – how does $300,000 USD for a 1500 square foot unit sound? Still thinking of buying one? You may be out of luck. The sales agent we spoke to told us that many units are already sold and are off the market! Keep in mind, an average migrant worker in China makes 20,280 yuan per year or $3200 USD so owning a home here is really only a pipe dream for the majority.

A model of the EcoCity. Image by Nick Chu.

As for transportation, they’re aiming for 90% of travel via sustainable forms of transport including public transit, walking and biking. A light rail system is will provide service to the entire site.

Seeing that cable is one of the most non-intrusive, most energy-efficient and most cost-effective forms of transport, if more eco-cities are planned in the future, I think gondola technology can undoubtedly offer exciting opportunities for additional multi-modality networks. In fact, with many eco-cities either being planning or currently being built from the ground up, this is a great time for cable transit to showcase it’s flexibility and versatility. Perhaps, an eco-city could utilize CPT to act as and/or complement its trunk lines. The cable industry should recognize these trends and not stand idly by. The more successful and prominent cable systems there are in the world, the more recognition and respect the technology will gain as a staple urban transport option.

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