Making Chinese cities ‘smart’

A lot is being written about ecocities in China. Smart cities, sustainable cities, future cities: you can call them by different names which mostly come down to the same thing. In my (non-official) definition: a city which is built for the future, which can offer its inhabitants a high quality of life while using its natural resources sustainably (i.e. staying within the limits of this planet) and making smart connections through IT, use of land, agriculture, nature etc – and of course through its people!

As you can probably tell from some earlier posts on this blog, it is also a topic I’m very interested in. It seems to be bringing together so many different things that fascinate and inspire me.

Architecture and design: what will these cities look like, and how do they need to be designed to offer a comfortable and happy place to live?

Sustainability: how can these megacities keep growing and offer space for so many people while using its resources responsibly? How do you feed a city with millions of people living in it?

Business: what role can companies play in inventing innovations which will make life in a big city so much smoother for the millions living there; and in Asia often in poverty?

Earlier this week I came across an online talk by Dutch architect Neville Mars, talking about ecocities and what the many issues are in developing these successfully in China. Interesting talk, which he gave at TEDxTheBund last October in Shanghai.

The Netherlands is also following these developments, some examples of which are a seminar on smart cities in Asia late 2012 (of which you can find short excerpts on developments in the various countries here), a Dutch sustainable building platform in Shanghai and other activities both by the Dutch government representation in China and by companies and individuals active in this field.

There seems to be a lot going on, but at the same time making real progress is difficult – which Neville Mars’ talk illustrates clearly as well. Some of my preferred websites to keep track of these developments are, for example:

Any favourites yourself? I would love to add a few more to this list!

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