China’s Grand Plans for Eco-Cities Now Lie Abandoned

Yale Environment 360 has a report about China’s failed experiment in eco-cities:

Dongtan and other highly touted eco-cities across China were meant to be models of sustainable design for the future. Instead they’ve become models of bold visions that mostly stayed on the drawing boards — or collapsed from shoddy implementation. More often than not, these vaunted eco-cities have been designed by big-name foreign architectural and engineering firms who plunged into the projects with little understanding of Chinese politics, culture, and economics — and with little feel for the needs of local residents whom the utopian communities were designed to serve.

“What I have always found amazing about these eco-towns is how seemingly easy it is for people to, first, tout these as a sign of China’s commitment to the environment and then, second, be surprised when things fail,” writes Richard Brubaker, founder and managing director of China Strategic Development Partners.

Shannon May, a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley who has studied the troubled eco-city of Huangbaiyu, wrote in comments posted on The Christian Science Monitor’s Web site, “While such highly lauded projects garner fame and money for the foreign firms, and promotions for the local government officials, they leave the population they were supposed to serve behind.”

Read more about eco-cities in China via CDT.


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