July 12, 2008
Ecological Coastal City in China Evokes the Dutch Wadden Sea
THE ENGINEERING CONSULTANCY DHV has been commissioned, together with the Chinese planning institute Qinghua and the Arup consultancy from the UK, to carry out a prestigious coastal and urban development project in China. The coastal city is to be built on an area of 150 km^sup 2^ and will soon have to provide space for one million Inhabitants. DHV won the assignment by including in its concept for the area an island and lagoon structure, which reminds one of the Dutch Wadden Sea. The concept allows for the creation of fresh groundwater in a sustainable manner for use in the city's green spaces. The international jury, consisting of experts from Italy, Sweden, and China, complimented the proposal for the way it combined coastal development, energy, water, and transport Into an attractive urban design.
The new coastal city will be built in Caofeidian, an industrial zone in North China on the Bohai Sea. 'Caofeidian has to become the model for China and the rest of the world of a Chinese ecological coastal city,' says Dick Kevelam, DHV's advisor on coastal development. Because of the coastal location in a salt-water area, and because of the limited rainfall in the north of China, there is little fresh water available for the future inhabitants. 'One of this project's challenges is to capture and recycie fresh water in as a sustainable manner as possible,' according to Kevelam.
At high tide, the outer islands off the coast form a sea defence wall that offers flood protection for the lagoon, which is located behind. The city is to be built on islands in the lagoon. The islands will be raised a number of meters above the salt water, by drawing sand from the lagoon. The lagoon design will restore part of the original tidal mud-flat coast in this area and will save those areas that still exist.
'In this case we're not creating land in the sea, rather we're returning water to the land in a controlled manner, thus re- creating a natural dynamic,' as Kevelam puts it. In order to adapt the Dutch know-how as much as possible to China, DHV is working very closely on the project with its colleagues in Shanghai.
In early 2009, the city's construction will begin next to an industrial port comparable in size to that of the Port of Rotterdam. The port, which is being further developed very rapidly, is today partly operational.
The Caofeidian New Coastal City is the second large coastal project that DHV has designed for China recently. In the other case, the Chinese were enthusiastic about the Delta Diamonds, a 75 km^sup 2^ polder land-reclamation project for the urban, economic, and ecological development of Tianjin, China's largest import harbour. This project is currently under way.
Copyright The South African Institution of Civil Engineers May 2008
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