Island of the Future


The cluster of three islands in the lower right hand corner of this photo might not look like much, but they’re actually critically important.  The above photo is Shanghai seen from space and those three islands are called Dongtan.

These islands will soon from a mini-metropolis that is being billed as the “world’s first sustainable city.”  In a nation that is fraught with pollution (70% of lakes and rivers are polluted), this city could be the way of the future.

Among the new ideas that will be pioneered in Dongtan is the premise that the island will locally produce all of its energy.  Rainwater will be caught in local reservoirs and canals to reduce the burden on water purification.  Interestingly too, every building will be mixed use: there will be no downtown per se and no oases of condos.  You can read more (including how Dongtan is influencing London’s city planning) here.

The project is being advised by the British engineering firm Arup and is scheduled to open in 2010-not coincidentally when Shanghai is hosting the World Expo.

One thing remains unanswered: the islands together only represent 3/4 the size of Manhattan and are going to hold 500,000 people.  What the heck are all these people going to do for work?  Are most of them going to end up commuting to Shanghai?

Thursday, March 1, 2007

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