Singapore, China hold first meeting on Sino-S’pore Eco-City project

Singapore and China officials have held their first joint working meeting on the mega Sino-Singapore Eco-City project.

Besides preservation and restoration of natural ecology, green consumption and low carbon emissions, it is social cohesion that tops the list of features in the eco-city, said Singapore’s Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan.

Grand plans are in store for the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city.

When completed, there will be some 300,000 residents living and working in energy-efficient buildings in Tianjin’s Binhai New Area.

90 percent of them will make “green trips” by walking, cycling or using public transportation to ensure the city lives up to its eco-friendly premise.

There will be 100 percent barrier-free access and clusters of inclusive, close-knit communities cutting across demographics.

Mr Mah said: “This means that while the eco-city is clean and green, it is also equally important to create an environment, a place where people feel that they belong, with strong community bonds.”

He added that while the China-Singapore joint-venture does not aim for the ultimate goal of zero carbon emission or 100 percent recycling, both have set high, yet realistic, targets.

The eco-city is the second project endorsed by both governments after the landmark Suzhou Industrial Park.

The partners hope the new venture will become a model of sustainable development for other cities in China.

“If the people who live in the green buildings do not accept the responsibilities of living there then I think the benefits of having the green buildings, the energy saving and the resource conservation will not be realised,” Mr Mah said.

Next step is to develop a strategic positioning for the eco-city, which includes defining the city’s target residents and the types of jobs and industries to be developed.

To understand the Tianjin community’s needs, Mr Mah visited some housing estates and checked out the local community services as these will be incorporated into the new eco-city.

Mr Mah co-chairs the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city Joint Working Committee with Mr Wang Guangtao, China’s construction minister.

Groundbreaking for the eco-city is due to take place in July.

It is to be developed by a joint venture company formed by a Singapore consortium that is led by Keppel Corporation, and a China consortium that is led by Tianjin’s TEDA Investment Holdings.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 31 Jan 2008

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