In the mail today from architect Peter Calthorpe:
“We have just had a major victory for sustainable urbanism in China. Over the last six years, Energy Foundation and ClimateWorks sponsored us and many others to test and advocate a set of design principles that were antithetical to common practice throughout China. When we started, isolated superblocks were the norm, and few thought it could change. Now the central government has issued new standards that not only require open, mixed use and walkable communities, but actually attempt to open existing gated superblocks. With newly issued TOD guidelines and standards issued by the State Council there is much more.
The new standards are a urban design revolution: they overturn the destructive Chinese model of superblocks, gated communities, and giant streets that has been eroding the livability OF their cities. They are perhaps the most important application of global best practices in smart growth to date: Urban Growth Boundaries, compact mixed-use development, walkable environments, infill development, bikeways, auto free streets, Transit Oriented Development, green buildings, and the preservation of history, culture, agriculture and natural ecologies in urban development. They have been testing these ideas for years, but now they are moving them to a scale that is unprecedented. See the following article for a summary:
Liuyun Xiaoqu is a livable community in Guangzhou. It’s not gated, but its public spaces are only open to pedestrians. It is a sustainable and vibrant example of what the new guidelines would support. Image: CC Huang.