BBISS Researchers Tour Eco-Cities in China

Crittenden Brown Ecocity Tour

It would be no surprise to anyone to hear that China is well into a building boom.  The nation is very rapidly urbanizing due to its expanding manufacturing sector.  Large cities are being constructed from scratch where there once was open rural land.  It might surprise some that many of these will be eco-cities, designed and constructed with sustainable design features, materials, and infrastructure systems.  The speed and scale of these projects affords a rich opportunity for research and innovation towards a better understanding of what constitutes an “eco-city” in the real world.

Toward that end, a delegation from Georgia Tech recently participated in “The China-US Workshop on Environmental Protection and Urban Sustainable Development” in Tianjin.  It was co-organized by the Chinese National Natural Science Foundation and the U.S. NationalScience Foundation and co-hosted by TianjinUniversity and Georgia Institute of Technology.  The U.S. delegation of investigators are part of an NSF funded project from the Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation - Resilient and Sustainable Infrastructures (EFRI-RESIN) program called, “Sustainable Infrastructures for Energy and Water Supply (SINEWS).”   The Chinese delegation is affiliated with the ResearchCenter for Eco-Environmental Sciences (RCEES) at Tianjin University.

The workshop focused on the current status of the urban environment, its challenges, its future, and sustainable development strategies.  There were three technical areas of focus for this networking workshop:

  •  water/energy nexus
  • land use
  • ecosystem services

The goal of the workshop was to establish in-depth discussions and garner lessons from an international community of scholars about some of the key issues impacting the urban environment.  Consideration was also given to how the delegations could provide support for each other’s research and how government decision making could play a role in advancing the state of the art. This workshop will not only help to advance the sustainability of the eco-cities in China, but also offers examples of innovations that are applicable to other cities.  Serving as a backdrop to this event, participants toured the new eco-city development in the Bei Hi district which is south of Tianjin.  This eco-city is a joint effort between the governments of China and Singapore and will have 350,000 residents.

Tianjin Ecocity Model
Tianjin Ecocity Wetland
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Brent Verrill, Communications Manager, BBISS