Chongming Island

Sustainable development is slowly becoming an important factor in the property development world, and whether we are prepared to accept it or not, sooner or later, one of the determining factors of whether a project goes forward or not will be the issue of sustainability.

The Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction promotes sustainable responses to the technological, environmental, socioeconomic and cultural issues affecting building and construction.

Activities including Holcim Awards competitions, Holcim Forum symposiums, seed funding for building initiatives and grants for research projects encourage innovative approaches to sustainable construction.

The objective of the Holcim Foundation is the non-commercial promotion and development of sustainable construction at national, regional and global levels.

Yearly, the foundation offers two million dollars in prize money which is awarded to sustainable projects.

To apply online, visit here. Although entries close 29th February.

One of the main projects undertaken recently is the Chongming Island development.

Measuring over 1000 square kilometers, Chongming is the largest alluvial island in the world and one of the largest islands in China. It is also one of Shanghai’s five municipal districts. With Dongping National Forest Park occupying almost 100 square meters at the center of the island, it is the last relatively untouched part of the greater Shanghai municipality. The island was formed of silt from the Yangtze River, and its fertile soil encouraged agricultural development. Thus, Chongming has remained relatively unaffected by contemporary ecological problems. The soil, air, and water are clean, and should remain that way: The government of Shanghai has developed a comprehensive master plan to transform the island into be an ecologically-oriented recreational zone and laboratory for sustainable urban, agricultural, and ecological technologies by the year 2020.

The master plan addresses five distinct zones:

  1. Dongtan wetlands to the east will be preserved in their entirety as a sanctuary for migrating birds. Dongping National Forest Park will be expanded and developed as Shanghai’s largest recreational area.
  2. In the northern part of the island, there will be stadiums and theme parks, with some land reserved forecological agriculture.
  3. To the south (today the most densely populated part of the island), residential districts will be developed and clean industries established.
  4. Dongtan, the island’s economic center, will be developed as a green city that depends on renewable energy, rainwater, and fuel generated from kitchen waste.
  5. To the west, a large lake and an international exhibition and convention center are in development.

By end 2008, the 25.5-kilometer Shanghai-Chongming expressway will be completed, including a 9-kilometer tunnel and a 10-kilometer bridge. When these are in place, it will take only 45 minutes to drive from Shanghai city center to Chongming. There is no plan for an environmentally-sound transportation system, and this has been the subject of criticism. Nevertheless, the strategy for Chongming is progressive for China, a country with 20 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities. The project is distinguished not only by the wide range of ecological measures, but by its global partners. The master plan was developed by the American firm of Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM), and universities throughout the world are working on its various aspects. The green city Dongtan is being designed by Arup UK.

We will certainly be following the progress of this project and will be posting more photos as they become available. This is a selection of photos taken by the foundation on a recent field trip to the site.

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  1. Denise
    October 21st, 2008 at 23:20
    Reply | Quote | #1