Pragmatic approaches to Chinese urban transformation: Dongguan eco-industrial park
Central Area of DEIP: with innovative approaches, radical changes took place in Dongguan Eco-Industrial Park during past seven years. The polluted water was cleared out, “lake islands” were shaped, and the site has been turned into an environmentally friendly employment center.
Source: Management Committee of DEIP
Author(s): Bin He
Abstract / Introduction (download full article at the bottom)
China’s urban land increased rapidly and enormously from 1981 to 2008, with an annual average growth of more than 1200 square kilometers (MOHURD, 2010). While cities achieved economic growth, this fast urbanization led to severe environment destruction. Air pollution, water scarcity and pollution, food safety caused by heavy metal pollution, traffic congestion, and waste disposal difficulties became unbearable issues for Chinese cities. In 2013, 8.9% of Chinese river water was found to be Grade V or worse. (In Chinese water pollution classifications, Grade I is the highest quality and Grade V, the most polluted, is even unsuitable for agriculture). Of the remaining water, 71.7% showed light pollution at Grade I to Grade III, while more than a quarter of coastal water monitor stations collected higher pollution data than Grade IV (NBS, 2014). Many cities faced great challenges overcoming the unwise patterns of development that occurred under periods of rapid and uninformed growth. Development transformation became the primary task for china’s cities. Dongguan is a representative of those suffering cities. After experiencing fast and dispersed urbanization, it had to confront a series of issues, such as fragmented and inefficient land use, environmental pollution, and then, eventually, anemic growth. From its beginning in 2007, the Dongguan Eco-Industrial Park (DEIP) has been committed to solving these problems, with continuous consultation from the China Academy of Urban Planning and Design (CAUPD). This paper shares the story of DEIP and its innovative approaches. The DEIP, located in a marginal area surrounded by six towns in eastern Dongguan, adopted a strategy: “environmental restoration — regional integration — sustainable development” and struck a balance between treating the pollution and seeking development opportunities. After a seven-year effort, DEIP has succeeded in environmental restoration and urban spatial integration: the polluted water was cleared out, “lake islands” were shaped, and the site was been turned into an environmentally friendly employment center. It sets up a practical exemplar and provides approaches towards sustainable development for fast developing cities facing environmental issues. With examples of DEIP’s success documented, this paper also points out deficiencies which still need to be resolved.
Publication: ISOCARP Review 10, pp. 32-47
Editors: Shi Nan, Jim Reilly, Fran Klass
Coordinator: Lucian Perici
Graphic Designer: Ricardo Moura