Two More Ecocity Stories, courtesy CNN

Ecocity thinking and practices are rising in world consciousness, as evidenced by CNN running two stories today with connections to the Ecocity World Summit.

[ Building The Future ]

LONDON, England (CNN) — It’s easy to overlook the impact buildings have on greenhouse gas emissions, but the places where we live and work contribute over 30 percent of global greenhouse emissions.


An artist’s impression of how the Dongtan eco-city will look like when it is completed. The first stage is due to open in 2010.

Although the term “green architecture” was only coined about 20 years ago, architects have been embracing environmental or sustainable design for decades.

Today, architects are transforming our urban landscapes in ways which were previous unimaginable. Aided by cutting edge design and construction techniques, the bold new structures of today owe much to the techniques used by pre and early industrial pioneers. [Read this article]

And Peter Head was given his own profile, talking about his work in Dongtan.

[ Future Player: Peter Head ]

(CNN) — Peter Head is Director of urban design and development at Arup, the global design and business consulting firm.


Peter Head, of global design and business consulting firm Arup, is a noted pioneer of sustainable development.

Head is in charge of planning and development for Dongtan, the eco-city planned for construction on Chongming Island near Shanghai. Head himself describes it as: “the world’s largest sustainable development project.”

It was while he was overseeing the construction of the Second Severn Crossing — a bridge across the Bristol Channel linking England and Wales opened in 1996 — that he first became interested in sustainable development.

[Read This Article]


2 Responses to Two More Ecocity Stories, courtesy CNN

  1. fairsnape says:

    You may be aware that Peter Head was included in the top 50 People who could change the planet in a Guardian special here in the UK back in January – the full list and article is at

    Below is Peters ‘entry’

    Martin Brown at isite (

    Peter Head
    Civil engineer

    Peter Head, 60, is an unlikely man to be leading a cultural revolution. The soft-spoken Englishman, a director of Arup and one of the world’s leading bridge builders, is now the master planner of the world’s first true eco city.

    His brief from the Shanghai city authorities may have been simple, but in building and design terms it was the equivalent of a moonshot: to build on an island at the mouth of the Yangtze a city for 500,000 people that can lead the world’s fastest growing economy out of the industrial age into the ecological one. Dongtan will cost $50bn or more, and be a prototype for 400 or more similar Chinese cities over the next 30 years.

    Nothing like this has been tried before, Head says. “It’s a complete paradigm shift. It is to be three, four or five times an ecological improvement on anything that exists. China is trying to use ecological efficiency to detach resource use from economic growth, the traditional development path. It’s a different way of thinking. They believe a new economic model will come out of it.”

    Dongtan will be all but self-sufficient, powered by wind, wood and sun. Its cars will be electric or hydrogen-fuelled, and its buildings will be mini power stations. There will be no landfill sites and 80% of waste will be recycled. Enough local food will be grown to supply much of the city’s needs. Turf-covered rooftops will collect, filter and store water, and solar panels will heat it; wind turbines will provide nearly 20% of its energy needs.

    “China came to us with the idea. I was shocked by the scale of their ambition but they’re deadly serious. Every province in China is building a demonstration eco city like this.”

    Other countries are catching up, too, and Head sees a 21st-century revolution gathering pace: “We will look back on Dongtan and say it was a pretty crude effort, but it will be seen as a first step. It’s significant but it’s nothing like the answer. What will develop over the coming years is an ‘ecological systems approach’ to cities, one that uses nature to get us out of the mess we’re in.”

  2. Some interesting points here, I think I will need to bring this up in my blog.

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