The Ningbo sustainability agenda incorporated for the scheme, combines traditional Chinese agricultural practices in conservation of soil, resources and water; with 21st Century technology. About 10% of the site is used for water bodes in a variety of forms, performing a variety of functions. Forms include lakes, wetlands, ponds and canals. Functions include drainage, flood protection, storage, treatment, aqua culture, irrigation, building cooling, transport and visual amenity.
Treatment storage and reuse of stormwater alone will reduce the requirement for externally supplied water to less than 50% of a conventional Chinese city. Sewage will be created to tertiary standards, and treated effluent will be recycled, as will stormwater, via a third pipe system connected to all water users. Energy will be generated within the new city from wind – utilising high efficiency wind generators and methane ‘eggs’ which form sculptural icons in parkland, extracting methane from the sewer system and converting it to heat and power. Further methane will be extracted form the sewage treatment plan and putrescible wastes.
Energy will be saved within the new city by careful attention to solar orientation in dwellings, abundance of work/study opportunities in the new city – reducing external travel needs, retention of walking and cycling as travel modes to work (currently 80%) as much as possible, and provision of public transport corridors to minimise increase in private vehicle use. Solar hot water will be compulsory for all housing. Medium density housing built in areas outside the city centre will allow efficient use of solar electrical generation from rooftops. As a result, it is estimated that the ‘New Ningbo’ will use less than half the energy of a conventional Western city, with a substantial improvement in air quality.
Soil of the city area has been farmed for about 4000 years, with little or no decrease in fertility, thanks to the application of traditional Chinese agricultural practices. It’s a valuable resource to be conserved in the new city, and put to good use in parks, allotments, aquaculture and urban forests. With both the fastest growing economy in the world; the largest population; and one of the highest rates of urbanisation growth; the incorporation of practical sustainable initiatives into city planning, design and construction will be vital for China. Ningbo is a landmark in development of a sustainable agenda for Chinese cities of the future.
The Hassell group have developed many of the sustainability techniques on Australian projects, including ‘The Range’, at Williamstown in Melbourne, and are master planners for a large-scale urban development at St. Albans in Melbourne, ‘Cairnlea’, for the Urban and Regional Land Corporation (URLC. With 80% of Australia now drought-stricken, implementing these types of sustainability measures into urban developments is crucial.‘Cairnlea’ will also be the site for Ecohouse, an affordable suburban project house with cost-effective sustainable features, such as solar hot water and electricity panels, grey water recycling and waste recycling systems. RMIT will monitor the Ecohouse while it’s on display and for a further two years after it’s purchased, to gauge the savings it will make in areas such as energy and water consumption.
The hope is that the Ecohouse will become another success story in terms of innovative ideas becoming common practice, improving the sustainability of everyday life. The Hassell group is also applying its sustainability approach to the planning and design of Melbourne’s new 20-hectare Waterfront City at Docklands, a major part of which is due for completion in 2006. The mixed-use development will combine eco-friendly buildings, for retail, commercial and residential use, with energy and resource conservation features in site development.