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Is China the Future of Sustainable Development?

Engineering and consulting firm Arup is developing what it calls the world’s first sustainable city. To be located near Shanghai on the third-largest island in China, the 34-square-mile Dongtan is one of China’s first large-scale projects that is meant to symbolize the country’s determination to clean up its environmental record and slow its relatively uncontrolled growth.

The first phase of Dongtan is expected to be completed by 2010, with the entire development scheduled to open in 2020. The project will be divided into three villages, each with its own residential and commercial properties as well as its own schools. Additionally, the island will remain about 40 percent agricultural and therefore self-sustaining.

Arup says that included in the sustainable design are public transportation; energy-efficient buildings powered by wind turbines, photovoltaic panels, and converted waste; and it all will be constructed using as many organic and biodegradable materials as possible. Further, only alternative fuel vehicles will be used on the island.