Atkins to pilot ‘Eco-Low Carbon Urban Planning Methodology’ in Chinese cities

Atkins has been appointed by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to support the application of its recently launched ‘Eco-Low Carbon (ELC) Urban Planning Methodology’ in a number of pilot projects, as part of a one year follow on project from April 2013. The methodology is aimed at providing a blueprint for ELC urban planning in China.

China’s emerging ELC urbanisation initiative forms a key component of the government’s 12th Five Year Plan, which places strong emphasis on energy and resource efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and environmental protection.

Funded by the FCO Prosperity Fund, development of the methodology was led by Atkins supported by the China Society for Urban Studies (CSUS), working closely with China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD) and the FCO.

The new project will build on the success of the Atkins-led FCO SPF (Strategic Programme Fund) work, providing the support required to develop the methodology for nationwide rollout. The work will focus on customising the methodology for specific local contexts and its implementation as well as its application in pilot cities. Pilot projects will be identified over the coming months in collaboration with MOHURD and local governments.

On 28 May 2014 in Beijing, the ‘Eco-Low Carbon Urban Planning Methodology’ full content launch event and contract signing ceremony for the ‘Eco-Low Carbon Urban Planning Methodology’ cities piloting project was hosted by MOHURD, FCO, Atkins and CSUS to celebrate the successful completion of the one year project and mark the start of the next stage project. Tang Kai, Chief Planner of MOHURD, Han Aixing, Deputy Director General, Department of Energy Efficiency in Buildings, Science and Technology of MOHURD, Vince Cable, UK Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Andrew Key, Minister and Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy in Beijing participated in the ceremony and congratulated the project team. More than 60 guests participated in the event, comprising key stakeholder groups for the successful implementation of the methodology including city leaders, large developers, development financing institutions and media.

Li Xun, Secretary General of CSUS, said:

“One of the major challenges in achieving these goals is the lack of practical guidance available to urban planners tasked with planning the infrastructure, homes and business premises to meet the needs of the large numbers of additional people in urban areas. The ELC urban planning methodology is aimed at addressing that gap.”

Qiu Baoxing, Vice Minister of MOHURD, said:

“The ‘Eco-Low Carbon Urban Planning Methodology’ addresses the needs of the new type of urbanisation, emphasises ‘integration, smart, green and low-carbon’ and aims to improve the quality and the implementation of urbanisation which was set out in the National Urbanisation Plan. I hope this report will serve as a catalyst to initiate more discussions about new urban planning approaches to achieve sustainable development, harmony with natural systems, less pollution and well reserved characteristics of cities. I am confident that the pilot implementation will set a good start to the wider application across China.”

Vince Cable, UK’s Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, said:

“The UK has world-class expertise in urban planning and we want to capitalise on this by exporting our know-how to fast growing countries like China as they address the challenges and opportunities of urbanisation. British companies like Atkins excel in the field of urbanisation, eco-cities and green buildings and this Eco-Low Carbon methodology is a great example.”

Chris Birdsong, Atkins’ Chief Executive Officer for Asia Pacific, said:

“This is an important time for urban planning in China as the choices made in the next few years will determine the shape and success of the new type of urbanisation envisaged. Our methodology, which is closely aligned with Atkins’ ‘Future Proofing Cities’ initiative, provides a clear, practical approach for ELC urban planning based on international best practice tailored for Chinese urban planners. The approach places strong emphasis on integration (technical, process and conceptual), understanding local context, human scale development in harmony with nature, strong place making, and partnering to finance ELC development through green credit initiatives. I am excited by the momentum demonstrated here today and we look forward to working with our partners to develop the pilot projects and prepare the methodology for nationwide rollout.”

Atkins has very strong expertise in urban planning in China with nearly 20 years’ experience from over 1,000 projects working with local governments and developers in most major and many smaller cities across the country. Atkins’ ELC urban planning work integrates planning expertise with the company’s strengths in infrastructure engineering and building design. For this project Atkins drew on its extensive experience in ELC urban planning and design in China as well as similar work around the globe, including Meixi Lake Eco-city in Changsha, Hunan and Masdar City in Abu Dhabi. Atkins’ partner for this project CSUS also has rich experiences in eco-low carbon city planning, research and consultancy, especially in background studies, macroeconomic development trend, related policy, development strategy, urban planning and index systems in China, which has contributed to this project.