Wired Magazine has a profile of architect Alejandro Gutierrez and his plan to build the Chinese eco-city Dongtan:
Three years ago, Alejandro Gutierrez got a strange and tantalizing message from Hong Kong. Some McKinsey consultants were putting together a business plan for a big client that wanted to build a small city on the outskirts of Shanghai. But the land, at the marshy eastern tip of a massive, mostly undeveloped island at the mouth of the Yangtze River, was a migratory stop for one of the rarest birds in the world ” the black-faced spoonbill, a gangly white creature with a long, flat beak.
McKinsey wanted to know if the developer, the Shanghai Industrial Investment Corporation, could bring businesses to the island without messing up thet bird habitat.
…Today Gutierrez and a team of Arup specialists from Europe, North America, and Asia are finalizing a plan for a scratch- built metropolis called Dongtan. Anywhere else in the world, it would have been a thought exercise, done up pretty for a design book or a museum show. But Shanghai’s economy is growing three times faster than the US economy did at the height of the dotcom boom. More than 2,000 high-rises have gone up within city limits in the past decade. The city’s most famous stretch of skyline, including the jewel-box-like Jin Mao Tower and the purple rocket-shaped Pearl TV Tower, was a rice paddy just 20 years ago. Now some 130 million people live within a two and a half hour drive of downtown. Even the wild ideas get built here. [Full text]