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May 29, 2014

UK FCO selects Atkins to pilot eco-low carbon urban planning for Chinese cities

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The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has selected UK-based design and engineering company Atkins to work on an urban planning project in China.

As per the deal, Atkins will implement FCO’s recently launched eco-low carbon (ELC) urban planning methodology in various pilot projects across the country.

The methodology, which will provide a blueprint for ELC urban planning in China, was funded by FCO Prosperity Fund and developed by Atkins in association with China Society for Urban Studies (CSUS), China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD) and the FCO.

The latest project is the next stage in the Atkins-led FCO strategic programme fund (SPF) work, which will see the implementation of the methodology in pilot cities throughout the nation.

CSUS secretary general Li Xun said one of the major challenges in achieving the goals is the lack of practical guidance available to urban planners when planning the infrastructure to meet the needs of the large numbers of additional people in urban areas.

"The ELC urban planning methodology is aimed at addressing that gap," Xun said.

"I hope this report will serve as a catalyst to initiate more discussions about new urban planning approaches."

MOHURD vice-minister Qiu Baoxing said that the ‘Eco-Low Carbon Urban Planning Methodology’ addresses the needs of the new type of urbanisation, emphasises ‘integration, smart, green and low-carbon and aims to improve the quality and the implementation of urbanisation which was set out in the National Urbanisation Plan.

"I hope this report will serve as a catalyst to initiate more discussions about new urban planning approaches to achieve sustainable development, harmony with natural systems, less pollution and well reserved characteristics of cities," Baoxing said.

Atkins CEO for Asia Pacific Chris Birdsong said this is an important time for urban planning in China, as the choices made in the next few years will determine the shape and success of the new type of urbanisation envisaged.

"Our methodology, which is closely aligned with Atkins’ ‘Future Proofing Cities’ initiative, provides a clear, practical approach for ELC urban planning, based on international best practice tailored for Chinese urban planners," Birdsong said.

"The approach places a strong emphasis on integration (technical, process and conceptual), understanding local context, human scale development in harmony with nature, strong place-making, and partnering to finance ELC development through green credit initiatives."

Image: Officials at the launch of Eco-Low Carbon (ELC) Urban Planning Methodology in Beijing. Photo: courtesy of Atkins.

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