Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Chinese Updates: Global Efforts to Create Sustainable Chinese City (19 Jun 2013)

Global Efforts to Create Sustainable Chinese City

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development's (WBCSD) Urban Infrastructure Initiative (UII) team released a report on sustainable development solutions for East China's Yixing City on Monday afternoon in Beijing. The report identified various practical solutions for realizing Yixing's vision of becoming a sustainable city by 2020.

The report, "A Solutions Landscape for Yixing, China," shows the findings of an interdisciplinary UII team of sustainability experts from WBCSD, China Business Council for Sustainable Development (CBCSD), AECOM, Schneider Electric and Siemens. In a bid to contribute to Yixing's vision of becoming China's "scientific and sustainable development demonstration city" and "oriental water city," the report proposes a set of recommendations and solutions regarding urban planning, transport and mobility, as well as energy efficiency.

The report notes that China currently finds itself in the middle of an urbanization process that is unprecedented in human history. According to a report released by the World Bank in May 2012, China is set to add an estimated 350 million people to its cities over the next 20 years. As urban populations grow and become more affluent, the level of environmental impact on "business-as-usual" projections is likely to continue to grow significantly as well.

The report also emphasizes Chinese cities are expected to more acutely experience the adverse impacts of urbanization such as traffic congestion, air pollution, loss of local biodiversity, reduced economic productivity and ultimately a reduced quality of life for many city dwellers.

Many Chinese cities, however, are taking on a leading role in tackling the abovementioned challenges. City leaders are increasingly aware that more environmentally sustainable cities are also more livable, efficient and competitive. The city of Yixing is the first one in China to work with the WBCSD UII project, showing a strong commitment to create a demonstration city using the latest urbanization models.

In his address to the launch ceremony of the report, Cheng Siwei, vice chairman of the 9th and 10th National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, said, "The report is significant, marking how cities in China have already put their focus on sustainable development during the urbanization process."

Cheng also pointed out strategy development is merely a beginning. The crucial point is that any city should ensure the implementation of all possible solutions. "I wish Yixing's sustainable development would become a role model for other cities in China and an inspiration to countries worldwide", said Cheng.

The launching ceremony of the report was jointly hosted by WBCSD, CBCSD and the Yixing government. Dozens of people, including government officials, business executives, academics and various representatives, attended the ceremony.

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