How can Yixing’s achieve its vision to become China’s “scientific and sustainable development demonstration city” and an “Oriental water city”? Extensive collaboration between the business-led Urban Infrastructure Initiative (UII) and the City of Yixing led to this comprehensive report identifying practical solutions for realizing that vision.
The report outlines wide-ranging solutions, covering energy and transport, integrated under an overall approach to urban planning in Yixing, a city of 1.25 million people in the center of the Shanghai-Nanjing-Hangzhou delta area. Two issues were singled out for immediate action on sustainable urban planning:
Rational land use and appropriate urban structure – Use a scientific approach to optimizing land use, based on preserving and protecting ecosystems, preventing urban sprawl and reducing the city’s ecological footprint.
Protected ecological and cultural assets through compact mixed-use urban design and green infrastructure – Optimize land use, favor non-motorized mobility and public transport, and establish a continuous band of protected green space, parks and gardens, wetlands and waterways.
The report identified energy efficiency as a third focus area, with broad potential for substantial improvements in industrial and building energy use. Building energy efficiency must be closely monitored and improved because of the rapid growth of the city. The key recommendation is to set up an energy management center to provide better information for policy-making and performance improvement, with a city sustainability tracking and management dashboard to measure the carbon footprint of buildings.
In addition, the report recommends supplementing Yixing’s inner-city “slow transport” (e.g., walking and cycling) master plan with additional transit-oriented development options, including combining slow transport and public transport services, orienting urban structure toward public transport, maximizing the use of the existing infrastructure and facilities.
The UII engagement had the full support of the Yixing municipal government, with city officials from several departments working with an interdisciplinary UII team of sustainability experts from AECOM, Schneider Electric and Siemens.