Sunday, May 12, 2013

An Urban Plan For China

Sustainability

An article, by Hal Harvey, in The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists lays put a plan on how to make China’s cities more modern.and more livable  China has the opportunity to become a leader in conservation and energy efficiency if it chooses to follow the path of sustainability.

Harvey writes:
Today China is in a formative urban moment—but at a far greater scale than the United States has experienced. China is in the midst of the fastest, largest transformation in human history. More than 500 million Chinese have been lifted out of poverty in the last three decades. This was accomplished in large part by people moving from the countryside to cities, which are the economic engines of all modern economies. In 1978, only 200 million Chinese lived in cities; today that figure is more than half a billion, and by 2030, the country's population will grow by another 300 million people. That means that Chinese cities will add one United States-worth of population in the next 20 years.
I have traveled to China dozens of times in the past two decades and have had a chance to witness this transformation up close: It is clear that the choices Chinese leaders make today will last for many generations. The outcomes of these choices will determine whether China's cities are clean, low-pollution, quiet, and livable -- or the opposite.
And, for three reasons, it is deeply in the interest of the United States that these choices be well made. First, the United States and China purchase resources in global markets, and if China's economy is inefficient and gobbles up ever-increasing amounts of steel, oil, glass, and chemicals, Americans will all pay a higher price for them. Second, the global climate is indifferent to the source of carbon dioxide emissions, so an efficient China will benefit the entire world. And, finally, China's legendary particulate air pollution actually travels across the Pacific, affecting the air in the West coast. A recent study found that more than three-fourths of "black carbon"—basically, unburned hydrocarbons—on the West coast comes in airborne plumes from China.
What happens in the world’s largest nation and the second-largest economy affects the entire planet. Thus it is in the best interest of China to develop sustainable strategies for its cities and for its industries. This is an opportunity for China and western nations like the U.S., Canada, France, Germany and Britain to come together to bring about the necessary transformation to China’s infrastructure, including better roads that include bike paths and pedestrian walkways, more efficient mass-transportation services, and more energy-efficient buildings.

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You can read the rest of the article at [Bulletin]