What really matters: How Asia builds its cities

I hesitate to post an article that makes the obvious point that “China is the future” but this article raises an very interesting point: The design of the new cities being built in Asia will determine how sustainable the world will be, not the old cities of North America and Europe.

How Asian cities are built will determine the prospects for global carbon emissions. Oh dear

Some astounding statistics from the article:

  • Every day sees the construction of 20,000 new dwellings and 250km (160 miles) of new roads
  • Energy consumption grew by 70% in the ten years to 2008 in Asia

The key message here is that once these new cities are built the pattern of future consumption for the people living in these cities will be set.   Asia has chosen the same model of development that North America and Europe is now struggling to change.    What is driving this model of development?  Cost and a lack of urban planning.

The question then is: What would cause Asia to adopt a new (presumably more sustainable) model of development?


Entrepreneur. Creator of technology thats makes regular people's lives better. Husband to Princess #1, Father to Peanut and Princess #2.

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Posted in climate change, ecological footprint, economic development, energy, government policy, sustainable buildings, sustainable development, sustainable living
3 comments on “What really matters: How Asia builds its cities
  1. The global crisis could be the answer and open the eyes of Asian countries to choose a more sustainable approach. According to Jeremy’s source, China is apparently on track. Ongoing population growth, particularly in India, and the omnipresent trend of urbanisation require future investments into (completely new) Asian cities to a much higher extent than in the Western world.
    We shouldn’t forget that these countries are also producing more and more of the global goods so that there is also major investment into manufacturing going on (beyond city construction). To what an extent sustainable approaches are chosen in there is probably even more crucial.

  2. katemul181 says:

    Its only natural that with the development of the Chinese economy there is an increased demand for higher living standard similar to the Americans. The main trend at the moment is the instalation of air conditioning systems in housing, which is only a small luxury, however the problem is if 1.2 billion Chinese continue with this trend, energy ratings will soar.

    What’s important is that they develop strategies for energy efficiency which are appealing to Chinese builders and consumers, and then to educate consumers of the advantages in using these sustainable strategies.

    A suitable design of new housing should be in-keeping with their natural environment and needs to be in harmony with nature. They could achieve this for example through the use of natural ventilation, shading devices, steep roofs and thermal walls. This will enable China to keep their energy demand lower and significantly protect the environment.

    Education on the environment and a collaborative effort to develop a sustainable model (among Western and Asian governments) is definately a good starting point though.

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