Yixing, an ancient city in the Chinese province of Jiangsu, is known for its clay teapots, scenic spots and for being the home of China’s famous scientists and academicians. But like other places in the Asian giant, Yixing faces the same environmental issues, such as air and water pollution, brought on by rapid development.
To address these problems, Yixing’s city government has consulted and collaborated with the private sector through a partnership with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), under its Urban Infrastructure Initiative (UII).
This initiative is an example of a public-private partnership that brings in businesses and the solutions they can offer to solve environmental challenges in cities. The UII explores practical solutions towards achieving a sustainable and liveable city, addressing urban planning, energy efficiency and transport and mobility, among others.
As seen in this video and as told by WBCSD’s president Peter Bakker, Yixing aims to become an ‘Oriental Water City’ that could set a benchmark for other urban communities in China, particularly on managing the urban-rural balance. It also seeks to become China’s ‘demonstration city of scientific and sustainable development’.
Multinational companies involved in the Yixing project include Schneider Electric, AECOM and Siemens. They assisted the city in developing strategic plans and actions based on a model that would protect Yixing’s natural resources like forests and waterways systems.
The programme also plans to implement a ‘greener’ public transport network to tackle the city’s increasing traffic congestion, prompting the city government to fast-track its feasibility study to build a rail system.