The most intensive urbanization process in the Asia-Pacific — characterized by a mobile and growing urban population — is currently happening in China, which makes this country an interesting case study for the future of energy-efficient cities. This article discusses sustainable urban development in the Asia-Pacific region and focuses on the need to find alternative resources and models for future urbanization, particularly in the case of China.
Urbanization in China is predicted to rise from 53.7 per cent in 2013 to 70 per cent in 2030. The article outlines the necessity for policy makers in the Asia-Pacific region to identify new ways to fuel future urban growth and highlights the complexities of making the paradigm shift towards ” eco-efficient cities” by considering what is being done with eco-city development in China. Urban transformation requires both strategic guidance and policies from the central government and pilot projects and actions implemented within municipalities. The aim is to build productive landscapes and highly-efficient cities that integrate new concepts of green infrastructure at precinct-scale. Therefore, how energy efficiency is integrated into transformed design practice is important for both large-scale planning and site-scale design.
Rapid urbanization in the Asia-Pacific is likely to continue for at least another two decades. However, the region’s cities urgently need a post-fossil-fuel urban development agenda, one that implements the principles of green urbanism to transform them into sustainable eco-cities.
Speedy urbanization and massive infrastructure construction in recent years has lead to increasing energy consumption in China. In this text, the interviewee introduces the general state of energy consumption in China and misunderstandings about energy-smart buildings. Then specific proposals for energy conservation in architecture have been proposed. At last, the interviewee concludes that only the interior environments in harmony with nature can support sustainable development of energy-smart buildings with Chinese characteristics.
Energy consumption has been increasing for years. Looking at the way we live, work, and move; we tend to choose the unsustainable and energy-intensive way despite knowing that it is not necessarily the cheapest, fastest, or more convenient way. What makes us waste energy versus conserve energy while knowing that with this lifestyle we destroy our environment, we threaten our health, and we risk running out of vital resources? There are five main factors that influence our decisions on how we live, move, and work. It is all about availability, affordability, accessibility, attractiveness, and awareness of options and technologies. These five root causes are the basis for a new planning approach that aims towards not only energy-efficient settlement patterns but also energy-efficient living environments that result in the change of people’s behavior towards energy efficient lifestyles — the Five A’s Approach.
There is an increasing realization that the new type of urbanization requires a new type of urban planning. The new type of urban planning puts eco-low carbon objectives front and center, with strong emphasis on integration (technical, process and conceptual), understanding local context, human scale development in harmony with nature, strong place making, and partnering to finance eco-low carbon development through green credit initiatives. In this context, the Eco-low Carbon Urban Planning Methodology is necessarily quite strategic and high-level. The core emphasis is on providing a clear framework and a practical, step by step approach.
Shenzhen Techand is a leading ecological restoration and landscape construction company in China. We discuss low-carbon and ecological techniques for landscape construction in order to begin establishing a referential guide and practical measures for landscape architects.
With over 20 years of experience in the field, Peter Ruge Architekten (Germany) focuses on sustainable architectural and urban design. In 2013, the firm completed their first Residential Passive House, BRUCK, in Southern China. The project is located in Changxing, Zhejiang Province, near Taihu Lake. Together with the architects and engineers from Landsea Europe, and in cooperation with Doctor Wolfgang Feist and engineers from the German Passivhaus Institute (PHI), it establishes new standards of sustainability through techniques that seek to improve the building’s operation over time and has achieved an important architectural milestone. With over 95 percent energy reduction over a conventional Chinese residential building, this is the first house of its kind to be realized in China's damp, warm, southern climate. The introduction of the Passive House standards to the Chinese housing market is an example of successful implementation of sustainable design that will considerably reduce energy consumption and improve environmental conditions in the future.
Lighting design not only provides a light source, but also valuable insight into space, performance, and behavior. This interview concentrates the present state of landscape lighting design in China, and introduces energy conservation in landscape lighting includes installing products that are energy saving, changing behavior to reduce use, and implementing energy saving systems. But in order to improve the level of energy saving in China, the key is changing designers’ minds.
The Vanke Architecture Research Center explores the relationship of art and ecology in landscape design, particularly the aesthetic, educational and participatory dimensions of eco-landscape. The center serves as an observational platform for the study of landscape methodologies that are compatible with current Chinese technology and economics. The project includes three core dimensions: the development and application of precast concrete modules, stormwater management demonstration systems, and experiment and application of environmentally friendly materials and design methods.
The Green Loop is a proposal for a network of ten waterfront composting hubs in New York City. Each proposed Green Loop hub would consist of a composting facility at street level and an elevated public park on top, large enough to accommodate a range of activities from educational programs, neighbourhood gardens, and crosscountry skiing in the winter. New York City has less open space per person than almost every other major city in the US. The Green Loop network alleviates two major urban problems: organic waste management and lack of green public space.
A landscape for sustainable energy production along the A4 highway in The Hague, the Netherlands is proposed. It consists of a new urban biomass forest, lines of wind turbines, an algae farm and biomass plant, a network of pipes to reuse waste heat and that provides an excellent bicycle structure to cross the highway. It provides fertile ground for future business development along this main infrastructure and is a no-regret investment because of immediate revenue possibilities.
Construction Industry Council (CIC) of Hong Kong, in collaboration with the Government, has developed the first Zero Carbon Building (ZCB) in Hong Kong. The Site area is 14,800 m2 and there are 3,300 m2 in the three-storey building. Open to the public, ZCB is a visitor education and research center and houses a green office for CIC, a demonstration home for low carbon living, a multi-function room, the first urban native woodland of Hong Kong and other outdoor landscaped / event spaces.
Ostim Eco-park is an organized industrial region located in Ankara, Turkey. The design strikes the perfect balance between nature and development with prioritizing efficient use of resources and spacious, healthy green environments through sustainable approaches in terraced green roofs, lighting, and rain water collection and reuse.
The new EDF Archives Center houses the company’s records and is a symbol of the long-term presence of EDF in the Meuse and Haute Marne regions. The project has brought a positive social and environmental impact onto the region, and fully integrates the landscape to meet local environmental quality standards; a fundamental goal of EDF’s building strategy.
The design of Gu’an’s new Planning Exhibition Hall showcases the region’s historic culture and urban texture. As Gu’an is known as the town of wickerwork, the architecture imitates the traditional weaving texture, while the landscape continues the architectural lines. The paving design knits the architecture and environment together, highlighting the uniqueness of Gu’an’s historical culture.
Throughout the history of human civilization, changes in energy systems have always led to fundamental transformations in the landscapes of human occupation. In the new era, the logic of energy production and distribution will start having a significant impact on the spatial organization of the urban growth. Given the low power-density and flexible scales of renewables, cities that so far have been solely energy consumers face both the challenge and the opportunity of accommodating energy production within their boundaries. Energy is not only a spatial project but would increasingly become an ecological project, revolutionizing deeply how we should redefine the interaction between inhabitation and environment in the future. New models should go beyond purely technical advances to embrace broader political, social and cultural dimensions. “The Overlapped City” explores the morphology and synergetic spatial strategies of resilient post-fossil cities across three scales: redefining urban boundaries and urban clusters, energy infrastructure framework and a new set of urban codes (Fig. 1).
The community of Ban Krua has come to global attention through their successful resistance against a government proposal for a motorway that would have cut through their community on the banks of the Saen Saeb canal near Bangkok’s National Stadium. While academic studies attribute their erstwhile success either to the tactics of non-violent resistance sustained by community cohesion or to the communities’ longstanding ties with senior officials in the Thai military and bureaucracy, we were interested in the dynamic interrelationships between the social fabric that sustains this remarkable level of cohesion, and the spaces produced and inhabited by the community. Buildings are sometimes self-constructed and usually transformed over time; at the urban scale of the community the network of narrow alleyways is a direct extension of domestic space, subject to continuous permutation through dynamic processes of local connections triggering disconnection at urban level and vice versa.