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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Earth's 5 Most Crucial Eco-city projects

Green communities a priority for architects, planners, builders

Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city

The Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city (simplified Chinese: 中新天津生态城; traditional Chinese: 中新天津生態城; pinyin: Zhōng Xīn Tiānjīn Shēngtài Chéng) is the result of a collaborative agreement between the governments of China and Singapore to jointly develop a socially harmonious, environmentally friendly and resource-conserving city in China. Designed to be practical, replicable and scalable, the Tianjin Eco-city will demonstrate the determination of both countries in tackling environmental protection, resource and energy conservation, and sustainable development, and serve as a model for sustainable development for other cities in China.

The Singaporean government formed a Ministerial Committee in 2011 in order to improve the coordination and support among its agencies for the project – reportedly a sign of the importance of the project to Singapore

When fully developed in the early-to-mid 2020s, the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city will be home to about 350,000 residents.

The Eco-city site is located 40 km from the Tianjin city centre and 150 km from Beijing. The site is 10 km from the core district of the Tianjin Binhai New Area (TBNA), with the southern tip of the site only a 10-minute drive from the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA).

The Eco-city is sited on non-arable land. Prior to development, the site of the Eco-city was one-third saltpan, one-third deserted beach, and one-third water, including a 270-hectare wastewater pond.

Key Features of Tianjin Eco-city

The Tianjin Eco-city will be ecologically friendly, and existing wetlands and biodiversity will be preserved. Green spaces will be interspersed throughout the city. Located in an area of low rainfall, the Eco-city will draw a significant part of its water supply from non-traditional sources such as desalinated water.
Integrated waste management will be implemented in the Eco-city, with particular emphasis on the reduction, reuse and recycling of waste. A light-rail transit system, supplemented by a secondary network of trams and buses, will be the main mode of transportation in the Eco-city. This will help to reduce its carbon emissions.

Social harmony will be a key feature of the Eco-city. An important instrument will be subsidised public housing in the Eco-city, which will help to meet the housing needs of the lower and lower-middle income strata of society, and enable people of different income and social strata to live near to, and interact with, one another. The Eco-city will be barrier-free to cater to the needs of the elderly and the mobility-impaired. Public social and recreational facilities will be located within easy access of homes to meet residents’ needs and provide opportunities for residents to interact.

The development of the Eco-city will respect local heritage. The profile of the Ji Canal, which is 1,000 years old, will be retained. Two existing villages within the Eco-city site will also be conserved through adaptive reuse or partial rebuilding.

Key Eco-City Performance Indicators

There is a set of 26 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city. In formulating these KPIs, reference is made to national standards in China and Singapore, as well as international standards.

Some of the KPIs are listed below. The development of the start-up area and the entire Eco-city is targeted for completion by 2013 and 2020 respectively, and so reference is made to these years in the KPIs.

Ambient Air Quality - The air quality in the Eco-city should meet at least China’s National Ambient Air Quality Grade II Standard for at least 310 days.

Quality of Water from Taps - Water from all taps should be potable.

Carbon Emission Per Unit GDP - The carbon emission per unit GDP in the Eco-city should not exceed 150 tonne-C per US$1 million.

Proportion of Green Buildings - All buildings in the Eco-city should meet green building standards.

Green Transportation - At least 90% of trips within the Eco-city should be in the form of green trips by 2020. Green trips refer to trips via non-motorised transport, i.e. cycling and walking, as well as trips on public transport.

Barrier-Free Accessibility - The Eco-city should have 100% barrier-free access.
Proportion of Affordable Public Housing - At least 20% of housing in the Eco-city will be in the form of subsidised public housing by 2013.

Usage of Renewable Energy - Renewable energy should account for at least 15% of the energy utilized in the Eco-city by 2020. Possible sources of renewable energy for the Eco-city include geothermal energy, hydropower and solar power.

Usage of Water from Non-Traditional Sources - At least 50% of the Eco-city’s water supply will be from non-traditional sources such as desalination and recycled water by 2020.

Jobs to be generated in the Eco-city - Sufficient jobs should be generated for at least 50% of the Eco-city’s residents within the Eco-city who are employable, to minimize the need for them to commute on a daily basis from their home to their workplace.

Master Plan

The Master Plan of Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city was jointly developed by the China Academy of Urban Planning and Design, the Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute, and the Singapore planning team led by the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore.

The intention is for development to take place around a central core of conserved ecological wetlands and rehabilitated water bodies. The main centre of the Eco-city will be located on the southern bank of a historical thousand-year old river course, which has been planned for a variety of uses, including commercial, cultural and recreational uses.

A comprehensive green transport network, i.e. non-motorised and public transport, will be developed in the Eco-city. A light rail transit system will serve as the main mode of transport within the Eco-city.

Commercial sub-centres will be located in each of the suburban areas to provide employment opportunities for the residents and reduce their need for commuting. There will also be dedicated service industry parks, university and hospital sites located within the Eco-city, which will contribute to the long-term economic vibrancy of the Eco-city in a sustainable manner.

Masdar City, Abu Dhabi

Masdar (Arabic: مصدر‎, maṣdar, literally source) is a project in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. Its core is a planned city, which is being built by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, a subsidiary of Mubadala Development Company, with the majority of seed capital provided by the government of Abu Dhabi.Designed by the British architectural firm Foster + Partners, the city will rely entirely on solar energy and other renewable energy sources, with a sustainable,zero-carbon, zero-waste ecology. The city is being constructed 17 kilometres (11 mi) east-south-east of the city of Abu Dhabi, beside Abu Dhabi International Airport. It will host the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

The project is headed by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (ADFEC). Initiated in 2006, the project was projected to cost US$22 billion and take some eight years to build, with the first phase scheduled to be completed and habitable in 2009. However, due to the impact of the financial crisis, Phase 1 of the city will be completed in 2015 with the final completion occurring by 2020-2025. The estimated cost of the city has also declined by 10 to 15 per cent, putting the development between US$18.7 and 19.8 billion. The city is planned to cover 6 square kilometres (2.3 sq mi) and will be home to 45,000 to 50,000 people and 1,500 businesses, primarily commercial and manufacturing facilities specialising in environmentally friendly products, and more than 60,000 workers are expected to commute to the city daily. It will also be the location of a university, the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (MIST), which will be assisted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Automobiles will be banned within the city; travel will be accomplished via public mass transit and personal rapid transit systems, with existing road and railways connecting to other locations outside the city.[10][14] The absence of motor vehicles coupled with Masdar's perimeter wall, designed to keep out the hot desert winds, allows for narrow and shaded streets that help funnel cooler breezes across the city.

Masdar City will be the latest of a small number of highly planned, specialized, research and technology-intensive municipalities that incorporate a living environment, similar to Novosibirsk, Russia or Tsukuba Science City, Japan.
Partners in the project through its Clean Tech Fund are Consensus Business Group, Credit Suisse and Siemens Venture Capital. Construction of the first phase of the project is being managed by CH2M HILL. Infrastructure construction for the city will be handled by the Al Jaber Group and design of the central Masdar headquarters building has been awarded to Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

Masdar will employ a variety of renewable power resources. Among the first construction projects will be a 40 to 60 megawatt solar power plant, built by the German firm Conergy, which will supply power for all other construction activity. This will later be followed by a larger facility, and additional photovoltaic modules will be placed on rooftops to provide supplemental solar energy totalling 130 megawatts. Wind farms will be established outside the city's perimeter capable of producing up to 20 megawatts, and the city intends to utilise geothermal power as well. In addition, Masdar plans to host the world's largest hydrogen power plant.

Water management has been planned in an environmentally sound manner as well. A solar-powered desalination plant will be used to provide the city's water needs, which is stated to be 60 percent lower than similarly sized communities.

Approximately 80 percent of the water used will be recycled and waste water will be reused "as many times as possible," with this greywater being used for crop irrigation and other purposes.

The city will also attempt to reduce waste to zero. Biological waste will be used to create nutrient-rich soil and fertiliser, and some may also be utilised through waste incineration as an additional power source. Industrial waste, such as plastics and metals, will be recycled or re-purposed for other uses.

The exterior wood used throughout the city is Palmwood, a sustainable hardwood-substitute developed by Pacific Green using senile plantation coconut palms. Palmwood features include the entrance gates, screens and doors

CALIFIA: Bay Area EcoCity

Califia Project info: 

Califia is a proposed 10,000-person ecocity to be built in the San Francisco metropolitan region over the next ten to fifteen years. The Green Century Institute is developing the general proposal for the project and seeking partners for this world class sustainable development.

Key Objectives:

• Model Ecocity Development: Create a living example of an ecologically and economically sustainable urban development that leverages the evolutionary culture of Northern California in a real estate development integrating advanced green design features, network-facilitated community development, and forward thinking partnerships with private, non-profit, commercial, and civic institutions.

· Green Community Network Hub: Develop Califia in concert with a network of ecological community projects around the world, sharing solutions for proven green development methodologies.

Development Process Goals:

1.Financing: Develop pioneering community-based financing and development approaches, and strategic public/private partnerships.

2.Ecology: Focus on sustainable and/or regenerative design solutions wherever possible in answering Califia's fundamental questions regarding energy use, food production, construction techniques/materials, transportation, etc

3.Values: Propagate the interdependent values of social justice and ecological sustainability.

4.Social: Use social network enhanced decision-making processes for accelerated project development, including sustainable lifestyle guidelines and systems, and the ongoing function and evolution of the Califia community.

5.Creativity: Encourage biomimetic design, aesthetics and lifestyles.

The concept of Califia emerged out of the research and development work of the Green Century Institute as a further evolution of various first generation eco-city design implementations across the globe, among them GCI partner projects Arcosanti in central Arizona and Auroville in Southern India. Drawing partially upon these eco-city implementations as well as their theoretical backing, we envision Califia as a leading edge eco-development joining next generation green architectural design principles and information systems into integral human living environments for the 21st century. Key to the design will be the innovative social meshwork underlying it, which will be implemented in a flexible mixed-use project combining traditional and cohousing-style residential development – a full suite of community, commercial, and social spaces to maximize human potential and group interactions.

Auroville; Utopian City in south India

Auroville (City of Dawn) is an "experimental" township in Viluppuram district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, near Puducherry in South India. It was founded in 1968 by Mirra Alfassa (since her definitive settling in India called "The Mother") and designed by architect Roger Anger.[1][2][3] Auroville is meant to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realize human unity.

Auroville Charter

1.Auroville belongs to nobody in particular. Auroville belongs to humanity as a whole. But to live in Auroville, one must be a willing servitor of the Divine Consciousness.

2.Auroville will be the place of an unending education, 
of constant progress, and a youth that never ages.

3.Auroville wants to be the bridge between the past and the future. Taking advantage of all discoveries from without and from within, Auroville will boldly spring towards future realisations.

4.Auroville will be a site of material and spiritual researches for a living embodiment of an actual Human Unity.

Auroville was founded as a project of Sri Aurobindo, who believed that "man is a transitional being". The Mother expected that this experimental "universal township" would contribute significantly in the "progress of humanity towards its splendid future by bringing together people of goodwill and aspiration for a better world." The Mother also believed that such a universal township will contribute decisively to the Indian renaissance (Ref. Mother's Agenda, Vol. 9, dt.3.02.68). The Government of India endorsed the township, and in 1966, UNESCO also endorsed it inviting the member-states to participate in the development of Auroville. UNESCO re-endorsed Auroville four times more in the course of the last 40 years

The Matrimandir

The Matrimandir, a golden metallic sphere in the center of town.
In the middle of the town is the Matrimandir, which has been acclaimed as "an outstanding and original architectural achievement". It was conceived by The Mother as "a symbol of the Divine's answer to man's inspiration for perfection". Silence is maintained inside the Matrimandir to ensure the tranquility of the space and entire area surrounding the Matrimandir is called Peace area. The Peace area in which the structure is situated is characterized by three main features: the Matrimandir itself with its twelve gardens, twelve petals and future lakes, the Amphitheater and the Banyan Tree.

Inside the Matrimandir, a spiraling ramp leads upwards to an air- conditioned chamber of polished white marble - "A place to find one's consciousness". At its centre, a 70 cm crystal ball in a gold mount and glow with a single ray of sunlight that is directed on the globe from the top of structure. According to The Mother, this represents "a symbol of future realisation."

When there is no sun or after the sunset, the sunray on the globe is replaced by beam from a solar powered light.

Matrimandir has its solar power plant and is surrounded by manicured gardens.

Radiating from this centre are four "zones" of the City Area: the "Residential Zone", "Industrial Zone", "Cultural (& Educational) Zone" and "International Zone". Around the City or the urban area, lies a Green Belt which is an environment research and resource area and includes farms and forestries, a botanical garden, seed bank, medicinal and herbal plants, water catchment bunds, and some communities.

Langfang Eco-Smart City / Woods Bagot + HOK

AIA Hong Kong, a chapter of the American Institute of Architects, has recognized the Langfang Eco-Smart City Master Plan with its 2010 Merit Award for Urban Design. Noted for its long-range vision, the master plan sets forth a strategy for transforming Langfang into a model of ecological urban redevelopment, calling attention to the role of existing cities in forging a more sustainable global future. Woods Bagot’s San Francisco studio served as the architect for the planning team led by HOK and CW Group. The award was the only honor given for urban design by the chapter this year.

Located between Beijing and the Tianjin mega-region, Langfang has grown from an agricultural hub of 50,000 in the mid-20th century to a city of 800,000. With the pending completion of the Beijing- Shanghai high-speed rail line, which will stop in Langfang, additional growth opportunities for the city are anticipated. In contrast to the pattern of new city development common in China, the Eco-Smart City Master Plan proposes to intensify existing development patterns within Langfang, preserve the surrounding agricultural land, and integrate ecological systems that restore and enrich the natural habitat—all with an overarching goal of creating an economically, culturally and environmentally vital metropolitan center for future generations.

Three key elements comprise the plan: a City Center Transportation Hub, a Northern Gateway Cultural Corridor, and an extensive wetland and aquifer system. Located in the heart of the city and bridging the high speed rail-line, the transportation hub weaves together transit systems, living infrastructure, and compact development to create a pedestrian-scaled, multi-tiered canopy for working and living. Marking the city’s northern gateway, the Cultural Corridor provides a respite from the density of the city center, offering low-rise, residential blocks, world-class cultural institutions, and a vast, 376-hectare park devoted to ecological restoration.

Eco City in Scandinavia, Spain, Slovakia

Joint ECO-City developments in Scandinavia and Spain

The aim of the "ECO-City project" is to demonstrate innovative integrated energy concepts in the supply and demand side in three successful Communities in Denmark/Sweden, Spain and Norway, respectively the cross border community of Helsingør and Helsingborg, the community of Tudela and the community of Trondheim.

From the outset the three Communities all have an advanced energy profile in comparison to other national and neighbouring communities and activities initiated as part "ECO-City" hence builds on that platform.

The large number of demonstration activities, are based on both the demand i.e. demonstration of ECO-buildings and rational use of energy, and the production side i.e. demonstration of various renewable energy technologies. All demonstration projects are defined in a "Whole Community Approach", which involve that all project initiatives are considered as integrated components. The aim being to ensure that optimal interaction and balancing of the demand and supply at all times.

Also the activities will be coordinated between the three communities to exploit and learn from experiences across borders and traditions.

Furthermore, the project include an associated community Zilina in the Slovak rep. The role of Zilina is to receive inspiration and input from the ECO-City projects and concepts. Also neighbouring municipalities to the project in the three project communities will be targeted through specific dissemination activities.

Eco City Partners:


Sources: Arch-Times.com, ArchDaily.com, Wikipedia.org


  1. If they're looking forward to a green living environment, it's definitely going to take a lot of time to plan things out, and to put everything in shape. The time period between now and the proposed 2020 full development for the first Eco City mentioned is a big lead time for the developers to carefully plan things. They have mentioned some of the good side of the coins. It would be better if the other side of the coins is taken into consideration.

    Jesse Mcgraw

  2. Wow nice designs and looking good.i like it's 3d architecture.really great.


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