A Chinese incubator city nurtured by the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities (CRCWSC) has been named one of China’s Ecological Landscape Garden Cities.
The ten on-ground demonstration projects and an ecological landscape framework developed by CRCWSC for the city core area have been instrumental in winning Kunshan this award. The award follows a comprehensive assessment by the national expert judging panel, who complimented Kunshan for its “(1) advanced ecological development concept, (2) distinguished water town character (3) clear sponge city oriented strategy and (4) matured infrastructure.”
The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development first initiated the Ecological Landscape Garden Cities acknowledgement program in 1992 but this is the first time the Chinese government has identified and formally acknowledged specific cities under the program. This renewed commitment to environmental protection in China is in keeping with a wide-ranging set of ecological reforms to develop what the Chinese government calls an ‘ecological civilisation’, which aim to reconcile contradictions between economic development and the environment.
CRCWSC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Kunshan City-construction Investment and Development Company and the Planning Bureau of the City of Kunshan in January 2014. This was followed by a 4-day intensive workshop in March when the CRCWSC team inspected key sites and developed a conceptual city-wide open space strategy. The long-term strategy aims to provide the city with ecosystem services by improving water quality, enhancing landscape connectivity, creating biodiversity, introducing food production into the landscape, and influencing the urban microclimate.
Mr Jichun Zhou, Director General of the Kunshan City Housing and Urban-Rural Construction Bureau, thanked the CRCWSC for their support in applying the results of cutting-edge research on water sensitive cities to the urban construction of Kunshan city. “CRCWSC has made outstanding contributions to our city in the process of successfully becoming the national ecological garden city and pilot sponge city which is highly regarded by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and Jiangsu Provincial Department of Housing and Urban-Rural Development,” Mr Zhou said.