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position: EnglishChannel > Experts in China > Article

Building Smarter and Greener City

Source: Science and Technology Daily | 2022-08-18 10:04:10 | Author: WU?Xingduo?&?LONG?Yun


Architect Patrick Eriksson. (COURTESY PHOTO)

By WU Xingduo & LONG Yun

In order to boost the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, China announced an ambitious plan to establish Xiongan New Area in Hebei province on April 1, 2017.

As a renowned Finnish architect with a strong background in understanding green and smart cities, Patrick Eriksson was selected as a senior adviser by the Xiongan New Area Administrative Committee to integrate his design concept into the development of the region.

A new business journey in China

Eriksson decided to advance his career in China at the age of 60 in December 2008. "People have asked me why I have such a strong affection for China, and the reason dates back to my childhood," he explained to some friends who were surprised by his choice, adding that he has a deep appreciation for traditional Chinese philosophy, especially the concept of "maintaining balance in the universe."

According to Eriksson, he is proud to contribute to the development of eco-cities in China. Some projects he co-chaired, such as China-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City, Beijing Mentougou Eco-Valley and Kunming Chenggong New District, are all included in the list of "Most famous Eight Eco-city Projects in China."

Regarding the construction of eco-cities in China, he applauded the way the Chinese government has responded to the challenge of climate change. From his perspective, China has already been the world's largest producer of solar panels, paving the way for the wide application of alternative energy sources, even if the use of coal remains widespread. At the same time, he emphasized that China is on the right path of ecological development and is leading the world in developing eco-cities.

Building a resident-friendly community

Xiongan's establishment has garnered much global interest. When asked about Xiongan's future role, Eriksson said, "It should emerge as a new landmark for China, offering the world a new image of China, displaying China's efforts in sustainable development." Modern ideas and international practices must be incorporated into the region's layout, and major projects must be constructed to serve as a template for future urban development.

Speaking of the development of Xiongan New Area, Eriksson has his own opinions and expectations. As a senior adviser to Xiongan New Area, he noted that Xiongan should be built in the way of a university adopted, adding that the people in the cities should be provided with an environmentally friendly community.

He is concerned with optimizing the functions of a city. In his opinion, the city's functions should include commercial, recreational, and industrial aspects. This mixed-use area makes urban life more comfortable and can accommodate the needs of various age groups.

Moreover, Eriksson maintained that measures to develop Xiongan should prioritize promoting intelligent and eco-friendly transportation. "Electric cars (EV) are becoming increasingly popular. They can reduce pollution and empower the automation of public transportation," he said.

Eriksson pointed out that bicycle lanes are essential in urban planning.

Making Xiongan greener

"Green development" is a buzzword repeatedly underlined in the development plan of Xiongan. It aspires to become a green city with harmonious human-environment interaction.

Eriksson firmly believes that Xiongan will become a zero-waste city, and he was confident that this new area would become a sustainable model of urban development. Meanwhile, urban greening is another dimension that Eriksson pays close attention to, as it plays a significant role in reducing carbon emissions and controlling pollution. The ecological strength of Xiongan New Area is therefore also reflected in the area's planning and development.

According to People's Daily, on December 31, 2021, the proportion of green in the area stands at 70 percent, signaling an environmentally friendly blueprint for the development of the new area.

In terms of the cooperation in green development between Finland and China, Eriksson noted that Finland could share the experience of forest protection and afforestation with China.

In addition, he was impressed by the China-Finland Winter Sports year held in 2019. "China and Finland have collaborated extensively to advance the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and other winter sports," he said.

In 2019, Eriksson was presented with the Hebei "Yanzhao Friendship Award" for his contribution to connecting Hebei with the rest of the world.

This story is in cooperation with the International Talent Magazine published by Foreign Talent Research Center of MOST.

Editor: 畢煒梓

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