What’s the smartest, most advanced approach to building a city?

Lately it seems that hardly a day goes by where we don’t hear about another eco-city plan being trumpeted. What particularly is interesting is how many developing nations are interested in the concept, and seem to be going straight to the concept when expanding and building new cities.

It reminds me of the phone system in the US compared to that of China. In the US and many Western countries, every single home has a phone line, and that copper goes from you to the telco office and beyond. Millions upon millions of miles of phone are in the ground. That is a huge amount of infrastructure that is being used less and less as many users leave their traditional phone lines and move to cell phones for the convenience, mobility, and value.

In China, instead of burying millions of miles of copper in the ground to get every man, woman and child a phone service, they build a cell tower in a town, village or neighborhood. There are 431 million cellphone numbers in China. The wisdom of cutting straight to the smartest and most advanced system available is pretty difficult to argue with.

So, you’re building a city from scratch. What’s the smartest, most advanced approach to use?

Ecocity.

And here’s the announcement of yet another, with the cooperation of China and Singapore.

The Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city Joint Working Committee approved Tuesday the draft master plan submitted by the combined team from both countries.

The committee, co-chaired by Singapore’s National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan and China’s Vice-Minister for Housing and Rural-Urban Construction Qiu Baoxing, gave the go-ahead to the proposal.

And the proposal will be released by the Tianjin government for public consultation in mid-April.

The plan incorporates natural existing conditions of the site, such as wetlands and rivers. It will also include a mix of commercial, residential and business park developments.

The proposed city will also have a comprehensive public transport network that features an LRT line, buses and extensive cycling and foot paths.

Buildings will be erected using environmentally-safe standards and the use of renewable energy will also be promoted.

The eco-city is another cooperation project announced by both countries’ leaders last November when Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited Singapore, following the construction of the Suzhou Industrial Park in eastern Jiangsu Province.

The eco-city will serve as a model for sustainable development for other Chinese cities. It can attract about 1.5 million people to work and live in.

[Read entire article]

There’s not a lot to go on from this announcement, so it’s hard to get too excited yet. But it most certainly is part of the growing trend and awareness of ecocities internationally, and especially in developing countries.

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