ADB to help China fight desert drift

China is getting outside help for a project to stop the alarming spread of deserts in its western interior that causes siltation of the Yellow River, the Asian Development Bank said Saturday.

Manila-based ADB said it will help Beijing design a project to restore the severely degraded drylands of Gansu and Shaanxi provinces, as well as Xinjiang autonomous region, which together cover 40 percent of the country.

“Land degradation is a critical environmental problem in all three project jurisdictions,” an area that once hosted the ancient Silk Road trading route between Asia and Europe, a bank statement said.

AFP: ADB to help China fight desert drift.

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

A city in the mapping – Chennai

Gargi Gupta from Business Standard weighs the pros and cons of  the second master plan and MAP Chennai Region help the city overcome the problems of rapid urbanisation?
You know the truism about the best laid plans of mice and men? Nowhere does it apply more than in the area of urban planning, in India especially. But despite their plans going awry, architects, town-planners, civic officials, industry and citizens bodies continue to persist with the exercise.

The most recent one in this vein is the one floated by the Confederation of Indian Industries for the city of Chennai. Euphonically christened MAP Chennai Region, it proposes to develop a 5,000 square kilometre region around the southern metropolis, ringed by the cities of Marakkanam, Arakkonam and Pulicat

A city in the mapping – Business Standard – Gargi Gupta.

A Borrowed Place on Borrowed Time

In Hong Kong, where land for construction is scarce and commerce has long ruled, preservation has usually given way to a tide of urban development. Few of the British expatriates and Chinese immigrants who came to the city with the moniker “borrowed place, borrowed time” saw it as a permanent home. But since the territory was returned to Chinese rule from Britain in 1997, its local identity has come to the forefront and heritage conservation has taken on the overtones of a populist struggle.
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Rendering of the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s proposal for the Central Police Station (inset) and Victoria Prison

Recently battles have been waged over buildings that in most cities would have little historical appeal. In the past year, the demolition of two 1950s ferry terminals to make way for a highway and commercial property developments spurred demonstrations, hunger strikes and arrests.

“These recent heritage battles represent a desperate search for a cultural anchor,” says Lee Ho Yin, director of the architectural conservation program at the University of Hong Kong. “It’s part of Hong Kong people seeking their own identity and roots.”

A Borrowed Place on Borrowed Time – WallStreetJournal.com.

Chandigarh may soon join the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites

An icon of modern architecture, Chandigarh has been placed on the tentative list of the world heritage sites, which has been prepared by the UNESCO.

One of the most significant urban planning experiments of the 20th century, the city, which is the administrative capital of two states- Punjab and Haryana- was designed by French architect-planner Le Corbusier.

Chandigarh may soon join the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites – DailyIndia.com

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