In 2009, China is expected to surpass the U.S. as the largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the world. Over 26% of the population (roughly 340 million people) lack access to clean drinking water and over 40% of Chinese cities lack sewage treatment facilities. But the country is trying to innovate solutions for the future. Recently, USA Today had an interesting article called "China Envisions Environmentally Friendly ‘Eco-City.’" According to the article, state-run developers are building an eco-city in Dongtan, which is 3/4 the size of Manhattan. Dongtan is located on Chongming Island about an hour from Shanghai. The $1.3 billion project may be a model for eco-cities all over the world.
The eco-city will be carbon neutral with the main grid of the city designed for walking and cycling, not for cars. The city will be powered by solar and wind power, biofuels, and recycled organic material. There will be green roofs for energy efficiency and insulation benefits and rainwater capture to maintain the landscaping. All vehicles will operate on clean fuels and about a fourth of the city will be open green space. Without all the gas and diesel vehicles clogging the streets, residents should be able to open up a window and enjoy the air. About 20% of the city is held out for affordable housing, but some of the farmers still say it’s out of their price range. See also SIIC.