Five Chinese cities received the Sino-French Pilot Eco-City Prize at the 2018 International Conference on Green and Energy-Efficient Building in Zhuhai, China. From north to south, the awardees were Jilin, Panshi, Qingyun, Jingzhou and Foshan. The award distinguishes the design of the urban project developed with five local authorities by a CSTB sustainable development expert team in collaboration with urban architect David Mangin (2008 Grand Prix de l'Urbanisme, the French urban design award) and Florence Bougnoux, a specialist in sustainable cities (SEURA architectural firm). The French approach, which is holistic and sustainable, is built on a thorough examination of Chinese urban planning and architecture. It integrates ecosystems and existing populations and includes the culture and strengths of regions on multiple levels. The result is a series of realistic and tailored proposals for each pilot city.
The mission of the CSTB is to collaborate with each of the five local authorities participating in the Eco-city initiative to offer an urban development plan for renewal across the city and for a smaller pilot site.
Qingyun, with 80,000 residents, is southeast of Beijing, 40 kilometers from the sea on high-quality agricultural land organized around a web of rural villages and irrigation canals.
A long-distance bus line connects Qingyun with the Dezhou high-speed rail station. Dezhou is the main city of the province, about one and a half hours from the provincial capital Jinan. A rapid transit bus service is planned to cover the main existing and future business and industrial zones.
In the southeast sector of Qingyun, the agricultural pattern is preserved. The villages may form agricultural clusters, combining innovative and organic farming with densification of existing villages, which favors short distribution channels and employment opportunities for villagers. In the urban areas, the new grid includes existing villages. The project manages the density and compactness of buildings for ecological and natural management of greywater and rainwater for each plot of land.
The villages north of the urban center are also preserved and rehabilitated. A “road of villages” will connect the temple to the river. It will pass through the towns, spotlighting the local heritage. There will also be a long-distance cycling route along the river, allowing cyclists to reach the sea in about four hours.
Of note: Forecasts predict that the population of Qingyun will reach 300,000 in the coming years. Half will be living in the pilot site south of the city studied by the CSTB: 154,000 residents, 5,000 housing units, 2,200,000 m² of shops and services and 1,211,000 m² of office space.
The city of Jingzhou, with a hot and humid climate, is in Hubei Province bordering the Yangtze River. It has a population of 1.2 million, in a territory of 1,515 square kilometers.
Considerable historical heritage is preserved within the stone perimeter walls of the city. The region benefits from an abundance of water bodies: a river, canals and lakes, fish farming is widely present. However, water pollution is a major problem.
Development projects are planned north of the historic city and south of Changhu Lake. The plans integrate the existing pattern of villages and basins in the new organization of the public space. There is a proposal to construct a public transport line to connect the area to the high-speed rail station and the canal bridge. Several multimodal hubs and urban centers, with shops and services would be created. The aim is to establish a flowing city, to facilitate mobility and reduce car use.
The project calls for well-managed density and compactness of buildings, keeping 50% of each city block free of any construction. This enables ecological and natural management of greywater and rainwater at the level of each plot of land. Natural solutions employing lagooning and plant-based purification are proposed for cleanup of the lake.
The spectacular setting of the canal bridge in the center of the lake promotes the development of tourism through flagship structures, symbols of the attractiveness of the eco-city (hotels, floating restaurants, departure points for bike rides).
Of note: The population of the pilot site is estimated at 85,000 people, with 2,650,000 m² of residential surface area (28,300 94-m² housing units), 1,330,000 m² of shops and services and 440,000 m² of offices. By 2030, according to forecasts, this area will accommodate an additional 180,000 residents.
This eco-valley is 50 kilometers north of Panshi in Jilin Province. The climate is dry and cold. It offers tourist destinations, such as the Lotus Mountain ski resort, an ancient cave and a temple at the edge of the lake/reservoir.
The project wants to diversify year-round tourism by promoting existing villages, including the town of Niuxin, and agriculture, which is widespread in the valley, particularly rice and corn crops.
The construction of a train station in Niuxin—the heart of the project—will directly connect Panshi to Jilin and Changchun. A new “train station district” can then be developed. To the north, housing units will extend to the proposed waste treatment facility; to the west and to the south, housing units and hotels will tie in with the existing village, also benefiting from redevelopment. An “environment center” is also planned. The vacation village, to the east, will be directly accessible from the train station.
A new multimodal transport hub will connect several routes: foot paths, bike paths (green lane), hiking trails, electric shuttles and train tracks linking the site to major cities and roads.
At the entrance of Lotus Mountain, the abandoned military buildings can be converted into a spa resort. The local connection between the train station and ski resort will be expanded to create a site for the electric shuttle and bike paths.
The 78-hectare “Lotus Vacation Village” will offer unique accommodations made of wood and a natural, environmentally friendly swimming pool. The forest can host a wide variety of tourism activities, such as tree climbing, while preserving the natural environment.
The development of timber companies is proposed in this valley to create jobs and foster ecological management and sustainable development of the forest.
Of note: The population of the pilot site is estimated at 3,000 people, with 75,600 m² of residential surface area, 10,543 m² of shops and services and 20,346 m² of hotels.
This is a new urban development area around the town of Chaluhe between Jilin and Changchun in Jilin Province. Its climate is harsh and dry in winter and rainy in summer, causing major flooding. The region is known for its many rice paddies.
The initial project, in partnership with Singapore, creates a city of 300,000 inhabitants with an industrial “food zone”. In this fertile area, rice from the eco-city will be high quality and organic.
The construction of a train station in Chaluhe and a new bus rapid transit (BRT) line puts the town in an advantageous central position equidistant from the two major cities of the province. The pilot site includes several facilities, such as the expo center (coupled with a sorting facility to create a showcase effect), a school and a hospital.
The new bus line connects these various facilities and the existing town (integrated into the grid), running to the new neighborhoods to the south and the food processing zone, then looping back to the multimodal transport hub.
The hub is located near the exhibition center, making it possible to manage the flows from the beltway and trains from Jilin and Changchun.
The water basins at the center of the housing blocks provide water containment and treatment while offering uses for leisure and sports. The river bank is a walking area and also serves as a flood plain (overflows are common in summer). The central park, in the center of the new city, combines agriculture and tourism.
Of note: The population of the pilot site is estimated at 134,000 people, with 3,400,000 m² of residential surface area and 151,000 m² of shops and services.
This eco-city is in the city of Nanzhuang and covers 9.6 square kilometers on the eastern edge of Foshan, a city of 8 million people in Guangdong Province. The climate is hot and humid. Forecasts indicate that the eco-city will be home to 60,000 people in the next five years.
For over 10 years, local authorities have been implementing a sustainable development policy which helped restore the natural environment and biodiversity, expand the electric bus system and environmentally friendly transportation, clean up water systems and preserve ancient villages as part of the urban planning project.
The perimeter of the eco-city, bordered by a river and canals, is near a zone of ceramic production, one of the largest in China, and an ancestral activity in the area. Only nonpolluting companies are accepted. Waste sorting facilities are located in each neighborhood to facilitate collection. Recyclables are sold and the rest is compacted and buried.
The next steps in developing this eco-city, in collaboration with the CSTB, involve improving urban planning by developing exemplary housing blocks in terms of urban morphology and energy savings. In addition, there is a push to improve waste treatment and cleanup of the water system. The eco-city will need to increase its production of renewable energy.
Find out more:
- Five Chinese cities named Sino-French Pilot Eco-cities
- The CSTB invests in the creation of sustainable cities in China
Contact: Cristina Garcez