Around 3,600 families in Beijing are expected to have brand new and environmentally friendly homes of their own in three years thanks to a first-ever cooperative pilot housing project launched by China and the United States.
The 200,000-square-metre project, dubbed Longzeyuan, which is located in a northern suburban area of the capital city, kicked off on Saturday.
However, the residents will not just be provided with a house of their own. More importantly, the project will set an example for energy conservation and environmental protection as the central theme for a new way of living.
The Beijing project is designed to accommodate about 3,600 families when it is finished in three years.
The two sides have also agreed to launch a similar model housing project using American design and construction techniques in Shanghai soon.
Li Xiankui, a senior official with the Ministry of Construction, said the project marks a second milestone in Sino-US cooperation in the housing area, following his ministry's decision to collaborate with its US counterpart to further China's housing reform in 1999.
Huang Jiankun, head of the project, announced that top New York architect Frank Williams, among others, was invited to work on the project.
The district's landscaping and public buildings have also been designed by noted US architects.
Li hoped the project would set an example for future housing projects in China, and play an important role in initiating improvement of residential environments for the Chinese people.
Li said the entire residential area under the project will have a complete waste water recycling system.
"We will use treated waste water to water grass and trees and fill artificial lakes and rivers," said Li.
The Longzeyuan project involves the latest concepts in US-style architectural design, Dennis K. Selinger, a renowned US landscape designer, said at the Saturday celebration marking the beginning of construction.
"The landscaping for the project's four parts reflects typical US landscapes," said Selinger.
Lawns and shrubbery surround lakes and an artificial waterfall in the northwestern part of the project. "This part will be a miniature of typical northwestern US topography," said the designer.
The northeast, southwest and southeast parts of the project are designed to correspond to these respective areas of US topography.
"With grass, trees and rivers, we want to make the project fit in with nature," Selinger said.
(China Daily July 1, 2002)