Plan to cre­ate a gar­den city in China’s pol­lu­tion hub

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

THE CHIEF ar­chi­tect of China’s lat­est spe­cial eco­nomic zone said he ex­pects to sub­mit to the gov­ern­ment by the end of this month a de­tailed pro­posal, in­clud­ing plans for a high-tech gar­den city in one of the coun­try’s most pol­luted prov­inces.

The idea of de­vel­op­ing the Xion­gan New Area, about 100km south­west of Bei­jing, was an­nounced on April 1. The planned zone in He­bei prov­ince has been touted as hav­ing the same na­tional sig­nif­i­cance as the Shen­zhen Spe­cial Eco­nomic Zone that helped launch China’s eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion in 1980. “We es­ti­mate the pro­posal would be submitted to the cen­tral gov­ern­ment for re­view by the end of June,” Xu Kuangdi, chief ad­viser for the plan­ning of the Xion­gan eco­nomic zone, said in Bei­jing.

All in­fra­struc­ture in the zone, in­clud­ing trans­port, wa­ter and elec­tric­ity, will be built un­der­ground to make room for green spa­ces and pedes­tri­ans, Xu said on Tuesday. In­ter-city trans­port would be “ul­tra-con­ve­nient”, with the com­mute be­tween Xion­gan and Bei­jing a mere 41-minute ride by high speed rail, he said.

There are, how­ever, still chal­lenges, such as se­cur­ing wa­ter sup­plies in such a dry area, re­viv­ing the ecol­ogy of the Baiyang­dian lake, and en­sur­ing the city is so smart and high-tech that it would “still be ad­vanced in 100 years”. – Reuters

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