Xixian New Area is located on the core border zone between the cities of Xi'an and Xianyang, in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province. With the goal to build a modern city using a sustainable development approach and improving its agriculture system, Xixian is committed to reducing land use and improving the land’s human capacity. Indeed, Xixian wants to find a good balance between urban and rural areas, accelerate the residentialization of agricultural transfer population, deepen reforms in rural land management, develop urban agriculture and gradually narrow the gap between urban and rural areas in terms of basic public services.
Xixian Provides the World with a New Template for Innovative Urban Development
The first "International Forum on Future Cities Planning Construction and Governance", a sub-forum under the Xixian New Area International Forum on Models of Innovative Urban Development, kicked off on October 13 in the central Chinese city of Xi'an. Shi Nan, Vice President and Secretary General of the Urban Planning Society of China, was invited to attend and address the forum.
Shi Nan said in an interview with CRI Online Shaanxi that the Xi'an municipal Party committee and municipal government have always considered urban planning a top priority and implemented sound and carefully deliberated plans since the very beginning of the founding of the People's Republic. Particular emphasis has been placed on the improvement and balancing of different public resources towards industry development, residential space, education, other public services and the multitude of needs of local residents.
In addition, as a historic city that has kept its traditions alive while being modernized, Xi'an has always leveraged its rich cultural assets as a driver and crucial ingredient of urban development. In the past two years, Xi 'an has also attached great importance to environmental and ecological protection. The city has outperformed its peers nationwide in the field of urban development planning.
Scientific and Technological Innovation Ushers Xixian New Area onto the Track of the New Economy
The Xixian New Area signed the Innovative Urban Development Economy Alliance Cooperation Agreement with the China Science Center of International Eurasian Academy of Sciences and two other organizations. According to the Agreement, the three premier think tanks will be tasked with providing intellectually rigorous and sound consultancy services for spurring the innovative and high-quality development of Xixian New Area.
In recent years, Xixian New Area has prioritized the fostering of a suitable environment for promoting innovation, entrepreneurship and the development of the new economy. Its constant and determined effort has given birth to the Western China Science & Technology Innovation Harbour Wisdom Uni-Town, Northwestern Polytechnical University UAV Industrial Base and other major technological and mass innovation platforms.
Looking ahead, Xixian New Area is seeking to further improving its business environment and striving to transform the area into an exemplar of innovation and entrepreneurship, a leading cluster of new economy businesses and a benchmark for innovative urban development along the routes of the Belt and Road.
EC-Link Pilot Cities Selected
Beijing, 9 March: The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MoHURD) announced a list of pilot cities of the EC-Link project today, including: Zhuhai, Luoyang, Changzhou, Hefei, Qingdao, Weihai, Zhuzhou, Liuzhou, Guilin and Xixian.
With the support of EC-Link, pilot cities will develop projects in the fields of compact urban development, clean energy, green building, green transport, solid waste management, water management, municipal financing, urban regeneration and green industry. Through learning urbanization experience from Europe, the pilot cities will serve as models for China’s low-carbon ecological development.
China is experiencing rapid urbanization. Over the past 30 years, Chinese cities have achieved extraordinary economic growth. In 2014, the urbanization rate reached 54.77%, which greatly improved people’s living standard. However, rapid urbanization also brought huge pressure to energy supply, natural resources and the environment. China hence faces huge challenges in environment protection, energy efficiency and industrial transformation. It is therefore of high importance to explore a green, low-carbon and ecological development path.
In that connection, the EC-Link project will make a significant contribution to promoting a Xiaokang society, China’s new urbanization planning, energy saving and climate adaptation, as well as EU-China urbanization partnership. Today, Europe’s urbanization rate has reached 75%. Over the past 150 years, European countries experienced similar challenges: the great smog of 1952 in London killed over 5000 lives in a short span of one week; the air pollution in Ruhr made blue sky a distant dream for citizens…However, the blue sky and fresh air in Europe make it hard to imagine the polluted days in the past, which was only made possible through generations’ remarkable efforts. In this process, Europe has accumulated valuable experience and developed advanced technologies in the fields of urban planning, green transportation, green building, renewable energy and water management. Many European cities have become eco-city models such as Freiburg in Germany, Copenhagen in Demark and Malmo in Sweden.
EC-Link will bring in European experience, implement best practices in pilot projects, build a knowledge and policy sharing platform, improve city financing and PPP mechanisms and provide more opportunities for practical cooperation between China and Europe and technology transfer.
The project platform will be service-oriented, with the aim to provide comprehensive consultancy for low-carbon eco-city development, solutions and technical guidance. The project encourages and assists pilot cities to explore innovative financing mechanisms. The aim is to provide innovative financing experience for China’s new urbanization process.
The project has received high-level government endorsement in both Europe and China as a part of the EU-China Partnership on Urbanization, a broad political initiative promoting the development of adequate solutions for sustainable urban development. The technical assistance provided by EC-Link assists the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development in shaping a national ecological and low-carbon framework, and helps Chinese municipalities with their own ecological, low-carbon urban development
Guidelines on Investment & Financing for Green Buildings
Green building investment and financing refers to the investment and financing behavior in the field of green building.
The green funding gap for green building construction in China is still large. To fill it, statistics predict that CNY 3 to 4 trillion worth of yearly investments are needed for the whole period of the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020). According to prediction, of the total needed investment, only the 10% to 15% can come from the government, the rest is made of social capital. Therefore, it is necessary to effectively mobilize private capitals into the field of green building.
In the top-level design of green finance in China, there is a lack of docking schemes for green buildings, albeit efforts have been made in this regard. In August 2016, seven ministries and commissions, including the People's Bank of China, jointly issued the “Guidelines on Building a Green Financial System”, a blueprint for China's green financial development plan. However, they did not clearly point out the specific financing, financing methods and implementation methods of green finance for green buildings.
In summary, China's green building investment and financing sector urgently needs to set clear guidelines to ensure the green development of China's urban and rural construction to achieve the overall development goals of 2050.
The guideline aims to consider all the aspects of the green building financing, from the technical side (use of green technology and energy-saving effects) to the potential benefits and capital risks connected with the investments.
The objective is to embed ecological and environmental considerations (from financial to social externalizations) in the decision making process of the operators from the construction sectors.
Urban Development and Growing International Trade Within the BRI
The growth in international trade and investments around the EU Trans European Network -Transport (TEN-T) policy and the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is leading to increasing transport volumes between China and the EU. Cities are the key nodes in these growing national, regional and intercontinental transport networks and should contribute to and benefit from the increased trade.
However, without proper planning and management, those urban nodes can become blockages in national and international transport flows. Local congestion around hubs and terminals can lead to reduced network efficiency and increased levels of local air pollution.
Chinese cities have an opportunity to plan the development of safe, clean and affordable transportation systems. The impact that such development can bring in terms of economic opportunities, human wellbeing, and climate change are determined by the choices city leaders make today: a sustainable urban/spatial hub development will be part of “resilient cities” with logistic hubs as part of the urban structures.
The proposed Project is designed to bring together Chinese and European Cities (such as Hamburg, Barcelona, Gothenburg) along key trade routes to work together to optimize their leading roles as national, regional and international hubs.
The EU and China together can define a model of rising trade and prosperity combined with healthy cities. To this aim, Europe and China need to work together to maximize the benefits of trade while minimizing potential negative impacts on cities.
Zero Energy Buildings in Western Science and Innovation Park
The project makes critical contributions to the eco-city construction in Xixian New District, as well as to achieving green and low-carbon development. Its major investor is Xixian New District Jiaoda Science Innovation New Port Co., Ltd.. With a total investment of 500 million RMB, the project is expected to complete by 2017.
The project will serve as an important research platform for the Urban Human Settlement and Climate Adaption Innovation Centre established by the New Urbanization, Environment Management and Innovation Institute of Xi’an Jiaotong University. The Centre focuses on urban climate environment planning, green building and architecture industry modernization. The project will apply a number of green building technologies to construct high-star, zero energy buildings. The goal is to lead the development of green building technology research in Northwest China.
As for clean energy, the project will apply the third generation technology of distributed energy resources. It uses different energy sources in an integrated manner, as the area is rich in energy sources such as solar and geothermal energy. Detailed information will be shared on energy websites.
Lead agency: Fengxi New Town Construction and Environmental Protection Bureau
Implementing Agency: Xixian New District Jiaoda Science Innovation New Port Co., Ltd.
The project aims to achieve 100% energy saving.