China’s cities: faster, bigger, better?

Today Pudong has joined Manhattan and the City of London as one of the world’s foremost business hubs.

Countless other Chinese cities are determined to follow in Shanghai’s steps. Cities have been the engines of China’s economic growth, contributing 70% of its annual gross domestic product. But they are also the stage on which China’s most intense social and environmental struggles are being played out.

The rapid expansion of cities and swelling of urban populations has been the most spectacular feature of China’s rapid economic development over the past two decades. China has become one large construction site: the stock of urban buildings has doubled in a mere five years, reaching almost 15 billion square metres in 2004. In 2005, Shanghai constructed more building space than exists in all the office buildings of New York City. Construction projects in China account for 30% of the global total.

China has become a global laboratory of urban change and an incubator of technological, design and policy innovations. Paradoxically, therefore, China’s urban mayhem has made it the epicentre of global debate on sustainable urbanisation.

Read more at Bangkok Post : Business news. LEO HORN-PHATHANOTHAI

N.Y. leads USA in green construction

Two days ago, the Verdesian, a 26-story rental building developed by the Albanese Organization, became the first multi-family, residential high-rise building in the United States to receive Platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) status from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Five years ago, the Solaire, built by the same Long Island-based family, became the first-ever green residential high-rise building in the U.S. Currently under construction, the Visionaire will soon be the greenest high-rise residential condominium in the country.

You have to see these buildings, all in Battery Park City, to understand what it means to build green. While tours of the Solaire are given on request, here’s the next best thing — a visual and textual look inside the three greenest residential towers in the U.S.

N.Y. leads country in green construction – Daily News – Jason Sheftell

Our endangered coast – Australia

COASTAL development, rising sea levels, increasing storm surges and a vocal community are a potent political mix. The climate change debate has rightly focused on the critical need to reduce carbon emissions but inadequate attention is being given to what we need to do in terms of adaptation to climate change on the coast.

Our coastal communities face an impending crisis. Continuing development in areas likely to be inundated is foolhardy at best. For a nation skilled at emergency management when it comes to floods and fire, we are remarkably unprepared for when the inevitable storm surge hits a populated coastal area.

Read more ‘Our endangered coast’ – Opinion – theage.com.au – Barbara Norman

Fifteen Group Unveils Vision for Model Community

Fifteen Group Land & Development LLC today announced a plan to redevelop the 1930s era-Wyvernwood Garden Apartments into a 21st century, sustainable community that increases the amount of rental and for-sale housing, retail and commercial space in Boyle Heights.

Los Angeles-based landscape architect Meléndrez to design a community that meets the standards for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development (LEED ND).

Fifteen Group Land & Development LLC Unveils Vision for Model Community in East Los Angeles – Business Wire

Plastic bags set to be banned in China

CHINA launched a crackdown on plastic bags yesterday, banning production of ultra-thin bags and forbidding supermarkets and shops from handing out free carriers from June 1.

China uses too many bags and fails to dispose of them properly, wasting valuable oil and littering the country, China’s cabinet, the State Council, said in a notice posted on the central government Website (www.gov.cn).

“Our country consumes huge amounts of plastic bags every year. While providing convenience to consumers, they have also caused serious pollution, and waste of energy and resources, because of excessive use and inadequate recycling,” it said.

Plastic bags set to be banned — Shanghai Daily | wå¥ — English Window to China News.

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