Business / Green China

Future is green for Asian cities

By Karl Wilson in Sydney (China Daily) Updated: 2014-06-30 07:02

Future is green for Asian cities

In a move to create a more sustainable city, Hue in central Vietnam is preserving and revitalizing its historic colonial district as a walkable area for residents and as a tourist attraction. Andre Vltchek / For China Daily

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In Japan, it's not uncommon to see buildings that have been transformed into living structures with gardens and parks incorporated into their frameworks, while homes fitted with solar panels to reduce the energy footprint are also common features.

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Singapore, already one of the greenest cities in Asia, now has the distinction of having the world's tallest vertical garden - the 24-story Tree House condominium.

Asia may not have the equivalent of a completely green city such as Vancouver in Canada, which started on this path 10 years ago, but there are some cities in the region making the right moves.

The Chinese government is already moving toward building eco-cities - places where people can live healthier and economically productive lives while reducing their impact on the environment.

Steffen Lehmann, a sustainable design and behavior specialist with the University of South Australia, says that the idea behind eco-cities is to live with the environment and resources".

"Eco-cities strive to cut greenhouse gas emissions by producing energy through renewable sources such as solar, wind and biomass, and using low-carbon public transport," Lehmann says, adding that resources are conserved through waste management techniques such as natural bio-filtration of storm water.

"There are even plans to grow food and plant new green areas within the boundaries of the city," he says. "The ambitious ultimate goal of these cities is self-sufficiency."

Ramola Naik Singru, one of the region's leading urban development experts, says there is an urgent need for Asia to focus on making cities more livable and greener.

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