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Eco city provides template for new green development

By Liu Kun and Zheng Caixiong | China Daily | Updated: 2023-07-13 09:30
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Editor's Note: As protection of the planet's flora, fauna and resources becomes increasingly important, China Daily is publishing a series of stories to illustrate the country's commitment to safeguarding the natural world.

A designer's sketch of the Senbo Resort at the Sino-French Peninsula Town in the Sino-French Wuhan Ecological Demonstration City, Wuhan, Hubei province. CHINA DAILY

The project, which uses environmentally friendly concepts, is progressing in Central China. Liu Kun reports from Wuhan with Zheng Caixiong in Guangzhou.

Development of a city that fully integrates ecological urban construction concepts devised in France is progressing in Wuhan, capital of the central province of Hubei.

The first phase of the 8.2-square-kilometer Sino-French Wuhan Ecological Demonstration City, which is being built by companies from China and France, was recently completed, and the second phase is expected to be open to the public before the end of the year, said Li Zhiqiang, a senior executive with the Wuhan Urban Development Group. Li added that the entire project will be completed before the end of 2025.

Zhang Chi, a senior official with the Sino-French Wuhan Ecological Demonstration City Administrative Committee, said the project's overall construction and development plan had been jointly worked out by technical teams from China and France.

Moreover, a cultural and sports center will be completed by the end of the year, according to Zhang, who is the project's chief engineer.

The landmark cultural and sports center is integrated with the local Gaoluo River Wetland Park, and visitors can walk along the wetland greenways to a roof garden in just five minutes to enjoy a cup of coffee in the beautiful natural scenery of the French-style town, which has enhanced local residents' sense of happiness, Zhang said.

Located in the eastern part of the ecological city, the project's core area — including the Sino-French Peninsula Town — covers 2.2 sq km.

According to Zhang, Wuhan's Caidian district, on the edge of the Houguan Lake, was chosen as the project's location because of its good infrastructure facilities and basic construction conditions.

Demonstration zone

The project is expected to become a pilot demonstration zone for good cooperation between China and France, and will also play a demonstration role in ecological and environmental protection for a long time to come, he said.

Meanwhile, Li said the project's Binhu wetland conservation belt extends 63 hectares, including nearly 38 hectares of water areas and 25 hectares of land. The project preserves original ponds of all sizes and connects with the local water system to form a wetland chain, helping to protect the local environment and ecology, Li said.

He added that a special wetland conservation zone that integrates natural scenery has gradually been formed. A number of subaquatic plants, including eel grass, black algae and goldfish algae, have formed an "underwater forest", while bream and bighead and silver carp feed on plankton in the water, while the fierce mandarin fish, which feeds on fish and shrimps, helps control and balance the lake's fish population.

Meanwhile, fruit trees — including pears, thorns and cherries — provide food for birds.

The green coverage rate of the project's construction area has reached 45 percent so far, while the per capita area of public green space is 16.8 square meters, Li said.

"Construction of the municipal infrastructure and the restoration of the lakeside ecological and environmental conservation zone are being accelerated, while construction is also underway of a French anime theme park and related tourism and leisure facilities, plus a China-Europe (France) flagship commercial complex and a smart transportation complex," he said.

Local officials said the city government will further strengthen international and domestic cooperation, accelerate the construction of the Sino-French Peninsula Town and attract high-quality European enterprises, research institutes and talent in the months to come.

The eco city is the highest-level cooperation project between China and France to address environmental challenges, such as climate change.

The project will help Wuhan improve development of its open economy and explore new ways and models for inland cities to further expand in terms of opening up. It will also accelerate the city's economic development through greater opening up and future cooperation between China and other countries, officials said.

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