London Looks to the East for Clean City Inspiration

While on tour in Shanghai, China, the Mayor of London announced plans for a new zero carbon development in London. The development, which is likely to be situated in the Thames Gateway, aims to demonstrate that major developments can be designed to meet exemplary sustainable standards — achieving very low carbon emissions — at standard development costs and easily replicable.

The project, which stems from a proposal from Greenpeace, will be taken forward by the London Development Agency (LDA), the Mayor’s regeneration and skills body. The LDA will work with Peter Head, Director of British firm, Arup, to help design the project. Peter Head and Arup are responsible for the Dongtan eco-city in China, on which the Mayor of London received a presentation while in Shanghai. This ambitious project in China was the motivation for the new British project slated for London. On a much larger scale, however, than the London project, Dongtan aims to be the world’s first sustainable city — with all the buildings powered by renewable energy, self-sufficient in water and food sourced from the surrounding farmland. Dongtan is situated on the third largest island in China. The 630-hectare first phase of the city will house up to 80,000 people by 2020 and inhabitants will be encouraged to make use of the zero-carbon public transport, which will be powered entirely by renewable energy. Arup has been hired by the Shanghai Industrial Investment Corporation (owned by Shanghai city government) to develop the project. “Global warming was created in the west, but it is increasingly to the east to which we look for a solution,” said Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London. “Shanghai’s Dongtan sustainable-city project is breathtaking in scale and ambition and if it works it will be a beacon to the world on how to achieve a low-carbon future.” Greenpeace will also be working with the London Development Agency to deliver the project, which will be up to 1000 units in size. “Once again London is leading the way in the UK and Ken Livingstone is showing what can be done when a politician has the drive to turn aspiration into action,” said Stephen Tindale, Executive Director of Greenpeace. “It’s high time central government took note of what is happening across the Thames.” The Mayor of London and the LDA will be announcing further details of the planned London eco-city shortly.
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