World's first carbon-neutral city faces more delays

11 July 2008

Dongtan, China's "flagship" eco-city, is facing severe delays following the jailing of former Shanghai communist party chief Chen Liangyu, a key supporter of the development, with completion of the first phase now unlikely before 2012.

Work on the first phase, the construction of homes for 10000 people, was originally planned to start in 2006. This is now unlikely to happen before the end of this year and possibly not until 2009.

Michael Kwok, director and general manager of UK-based designers and masterplanners Arup, was quoted by PropertyWire as confirming the latest delay.

"We hope to be able to start on site this year, but because of this delay, the first phase probably won't finish until 2012," said Mr Kwok. The only signs of construction having started so far are 10 wind turbines standing at the boundaries of the city, he added.

The news raises concerns about the viability of the project, which is described as "the world's first carbon-neutral city", by state-run developer Shanghai Industrial Investment Corporation (SIIC).

Located on Chongming Island, about an hour from Shanghai, , the 86 km2, US$ 1.3 billion project will house 400000 people, and is designed to be a "model of ecological harmony powered entirely by renewable energy".

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