A Laboratory for Sustainable Urban Development in Asia’s largest Wetlands.
The environmental pressures, economic development and the unpredicted urbanization, have caused serious problems for Chinese cities in recent years and have given rise to a wide range of eco-friendly building programs. Each new campaign attracts eager media attention, yet realization too often falls short as projects are reduced, postponed or cancelled in the face of too great a size and ambition, unmet expectations, shifting interest, unclear objectives and a perennial shortage of funds.
The E’erguna project on the other hand, is founded on three key principles that make it unique:
The scale of intervention:
The project offers an opportunity to transform an entire existing city into an eco-city. The planned area, approximately 20km2, is manageable from an economic perspective. The existing infrastructure currently serves less than 40% of the total area and thus offers substantial opportunities of intelligent and strategic intervention – upgrade and expansion – so as to turn the city’s infrastructure into both a greener and smarter means of serving the needs of E’erguna’s citizens and visitors alike.
The culture in which the project is immersed:
E’erguna, both for its location and role in history, is an incredibly challenging culture to face because it is not only the birth place of the Mongols, but it is where many ethnic groups coexist, creating a special atmosphere and cultural background, rooted on two main ethnic groups – the Russians and the Mongols. Their customs, dress code, food, music and other everyday life aspects reflect a great spirit of “sharing”. Such a welcoming spirit makes new ideas, approaches and development techniques easier to be explained and implemented.
The environmental characteristics:
The location of the strategic master plan is rich in water and wildlife including droves of free-roaming Mongolian horses, some 500 species of migratory birds, a birch forest that is nearly a quarter of the size of Manhattan, and the core of the largest wetlands in all of Asia, 1,200km2, about the size of Los Angeles. The city has a population of approximately 37,000 inhabitants in 20km2, whilst the entire area encompasses around 80,000 people in a land mass larger than Great Britain. The presence of such treasure suggests limiting as much as possible the expansion of the city beyond its current boundaries and focusing on densification.
The main concepts/objectives that drive the strategic plan are: