British engineering and design consultancy Arup has signed a contract with Shanghai Industrial Investment Corporation (SIIC) to plan the world’s first sustainable “eco-city” – at Dongtan, outside of Shanghai. The new city, which will be three-quarters the size of Manhattan, will be built on the eastern end of Chongming, a large island that sits in the mouth of the Yangtze river delta a few miles northeast of the city centre, close to Shanghai?s new airport.

At the moment the site is mostly agricultural land, bordering on wetlands. The Eco-city aims to develop a comprehensive energy strategy incorporating large-scale renewable energy technologies, which will reduce damaging emissions, and bring the city as close to carbon-neutral as possible. Other environmentally sensitive aspects include the development of a process to capture and purify water in the landscape to support life in the city. Community waste management recycling will generate clean energy from organic waste, reducing landfills that damage the environment.

Arup expects to have its master plan approved by October 2006, and anticipates that construction will start immediately after. The first phase will be completed by 2010, just in time for Shanghai?s hosting of the World Expo.

If this project ends up being as eco-friendly as is currently outlined, it will be a model of urban design.

Sustainble, Green
What Dongtan currently looks like.
Via The Times Online