Chinese regulations for eco-cities: the three categories

There are three categories of Chinese eco-cities: the first categories are clearly defined by two ministries, MoHURD and MEP; and the third category is mainly international experimental projects, from Dong Tan, to SSTEC to Caofeidian. Our projects aims to providing a possible solution of synthesizing these three categories of Chinese eco-cities.

Based on the “National Standards for Garden City” of 1992, Ministry of Housing and Urban-rural Development (MoHURD) proposed in 2004 a advanced “National Standards for Eco-Garden City” which consists of 19 quantitative indicators, including seven natural environment indicators, five living environment indicators, and seven infrastructure indicators. While the “Garden City” Standard focuses more heavily on landscape and green space coverage, the “Eco-Garden City” Standard more strongly emphasizes and places more stringent requirements on the quality and coverage of cities’ public infrastructure services and environmental treatment facilities, and levels of pollution control. However, a city must be first awarded the title of "Garden City" to qualify as "Eco-Garden City". Cities cannot nominate themselves to compete for the titles, it must be nominated by the provincial Construction Bureaus who recommended it to the MoHURD for review and decide.

In 2005, following the announcing of 11 FYP, MoHURD’s updated its “National Standards for Garden City” guideline to reflect the new requirements on green buildings and public transport, particularly in light of MoHURD’s recognition of the importance of energy efficiency in cities. Currently, MoHURD’s is conducting further revisions and updates on its “National Standards for Eco-Garden City”.

In 2006, Shenzhen city became the first “National Eco-Garden” Model City. In 2007, MoHURD proposed 11 cities among more than 139 cities that had qualified as Garden Cities since 1992 as “National Eco-Garden Pilot Cities,” including Qingdao, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Weihai, Yangzhou, Suzhou, Shaoxing, Guilin, Changshu, Kunshan and Zhangjiagang. These pilot cities were required to formulate detailed plans to achieve the Eco-Garden City standards, subject to MoHURD’s review and approval.

Another Chinese eco-city guideline is managed by Ministry of Environment Protection (MEP). In December 2007, MEP announced revising “Indices for Eco-County, Eco-City and Eco-Province” guideline, and introduced stricter standards, particularly in energy consumption, water consumption, and pollutant emissions. MEP’s Eco-City Standard has 19 qualitative indicators: 5 economic indicators, 11 environmental indicators, and 3 social indicators.

Compared to MoHURD’s Eco-Garden City Standard, which focuses mainly on the built-up environment of cities, MEP’s Eco-City Standard targets the whole jurisdiction of a city, from the central city to surrounding suburban and rural areas. The Eco-City Standard requires formulation of “Eco-County/City/Province Construction Planning,” reflecting MEP’s emphasis on urban-rural integration. The MEP’s Eco-City Standard introduces mandatory indicators to limit energy and resource consumption and pollutant emissions. For MEP to approve an eco-city, the central city within the city’s jurisdiction must have been previously qualified as an “Environment Protection Model City”, among which 15 are obligatory and four are indicative.

So far, MEP has identified 11 counties/districts and cities as national “Eco-counties/districts” or “Ecocities”, including Miyun county, Yanqing county in Beijing, Taicang city, Zhangjiagang city, Changshu city, Jiangyin city in Jiangsu province, Rongcheng city in Shandong province, Yantian district in Shenzhen, Minhang district in Shanghai, and Anji county in Zhejiang province.

Table 1, Eco-cities projects recognized by MoHURD and MEP



MoHURD:
“National Eco-Garden Pilot Cities,” Qingdao, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Weihai, Yangzhou, Suzhou, Shaoxing, Guilin, Changshu, Kunshan and Zhangjiagang
“National Eco-Garden”: Shenzhen (2007)


MEP: National “Eco-counties/districts” or “Ecocities”
Miyun county, Yanqing county in Beijing, Taicang city, Zhangjiagang city, Changshu city, Jiangyin city in Jiangsu province, Rongcheng city in Shandong province, Yantian district in Shenzhen, Minhang district in Shanghai, and Anji county in Zhejiang province.

As illustrated by the Table 1, the eco-city projects of MoHURD and MEP doesn’t match, and furthermore, both sets of standards leave significant gaps in assessing environmental sustainability in a more comprehensive manner—including in important areas such as land use and renewable energy. Despite their limitations, the eco-city standards of MEP and MoHURD provide an initial basis for introducing ecological development concepts, though they cannot serve as comprehensive and objective benchmarks and reference points for assessing ecological urban development. And MEP and MoHURD update their respective indicators regularly and annually announce selected “eco-cities”, so it is possible the two sets of standards could be integrated into a amore comprehensive one in the future.

Many of these eco-cities in the MEP and MoHURD system are developed by local governments in cooperation with international partners, from middle-size city Rongcheng to large ones, including Shenzhen.

The third kind of eco-cities which are developed from scratch through international cooperation, such as the failed Sino-United Kingdom Chongming Dongtan Eco-City (Dongtan), and the on-going Tangshan Caofeidian International Eco-City (Caofeidian), and Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City (SSTEC). MoHURD has also encouraged cities and towns that were heavily hit by the Wenchuan Earthquake to support reconstruction aligned with eco-city principles. Though encouraging this kind of experimental initiatives, neither ministry has set any guideline for this kind of “starting-from-concept” eco-cities. It is estimated that this third kind of eco-city initiatives are being developed in at least a hundred sites across China.

Posted by fiona liu / 8.4 years ago / 5218 hits

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