The newly designed city responds to an intense urbanization of the rural population. Planned double-decker organic farms replaces agriculture lost to building. All waste is recycled for agriculture or energy. In some cases former agricultural land will be returned to wetlands.
Dongtan has been variously credited for its planned zero-carbon footprint, encouragement of biodiversity, low carbon-usage, and low-consumption ideals. Peter Head, director of the engineering firm Arup, which was in charge of the project, said: ‘It is no gimmick. It is being led at the highest levels of the Chinese government. They are very committed to developing a new paradigm of economic development.’
EDITORS NOTE: The utopian vision reconfigures the cultural and agricultural relationships that are changing in China. It pre-emptively tries to limit the population’s ecological footprint as Chinese populations and lifestyles grow. Doing this in one fell swoop may stunt efforts before they get going.