Verdens første bæredygtige by. Det var planen. Her på øen Chongming i Shanghai skulle der bo en halv million mennesker i miljømæssig harmoni med omgivelserne.
Bannerføreren i projektet var det britiske ingeniørfirma Arup, der utallige gange har brugt det i deres markedsføring.
Og det er sikkert også her, at projektet ender. Som et stykke tom marketing. En luftkastel i en brochure fra Arup.
I 2010 skulle der være flyttet 400.000 personer ind i Dongtan, men projektet er gået i stå, skriver den britiske avis The Telegraph:
The British company has now backed away from its original timetable. “There is no time pressure on when to develop Dongtan,” said Roger Wood, the project manager at Arup.
In fact Dongtan hit the rocks after its main sponsor, Chen Liangyu, the city’s Communist Party boss and a member of the politburo, fell from grace in September 2006. Mr Chen, who was educated at Birmingham University courtesy of the British government-funded Chevening Scholarship scheme, was sentenced in April to 18 years in prison for fraud.
Because Dongtan had been under Mr Chen’s aegis, it became a political hot potato and nobody within the current Shanghai administration is now willing to touch it.
I følge artiklen har Arups kinesiske partner stort set glemt alt om projektet, der heller ikke længere har politisk interesse i Shanghai.
Det er ikke noget, som kommer bag på Matthew Crabbe fra Access Asia. Som han skriver i det ugentlige og som sædvanligt hårdtslående nyhedsbrev:
And one part of the article especially got our goat. Regular readers will be aware of how Arup have been selling themselves and collecting awards for being ‘master planners’, ‘visionary’, and all that – leading from the front and doing what nobody has ever done, the saviours of the Chinese environment, etc. Yet what do we hear now from Arup’s Roger Wood? The familiar dodgy builders’ lament of “it’s not me Gov”:
Wood: “We are simply the engineers of a project and work to the programme given to us by our client,” he said. This is a slight change of tack from the ‘visionary’ claims of yesterday.
Perhaps now Arup and their ‘master-planners’ will finally fess-up and admit it was all a con to ensure they got the Watercube, and other lucrative contracts, and that they knew all along that the Dongtan Eco-Village would never be anything more than the infamous artists impression. Though we doubt it!
Det er ikke første gang, at der sået tvivl om projektet. For eksempel her:
“‘Zero-emission’ city is pure commercial hype,” said Dai Xingyi, a professor at the department of environmental science and engineering at Fudan University in Shanghai.
“You can’t expect some technology to both offer you a luxurious and comfortable life and save energy at the same time. That’s just a dream,” he said.
Det står der i denne artikel fra Reuters i juni (via International Herald Tribune).
:: Billedet er fra denne artikel.