Environmental focus and sustainable development to make its mark in Sichuan capital
Chengdu, capital of Southwest China’s Sichuan province, has long been known for its leisurely and relaxed pace of life.
Proud of its reputation as China’s happiest city for many years, Chengdu aims to develop itself into a beautiful, livable and ecologically-friendly city in the near future and a world-famous city with sustainable development by 2050.
Besides pandas and its signature spicy Sichuan cuisine, Chengdu wants to create a new brand for itself – the Tianfu Greenway, to show off its natural beauty.
Clockwise from top left: The Tianfu Greenway has become a popular oasis in the city for Chengdu residents. The Tianfu Hibiscus Garden along the greenway boasts a diverse variety of flowers. The lush trees, flowers, rivers and lakes which take pride of place along the Tianfu Greenway are expected to boost the city’s green development. Photos Provided to China Daily
The greenway will feature lush trees, flowers and rivers and will contribute greatly to boosting the city’s ecological civilization and green development.
Beginning in 2017, the project is scheduled to complete by 2035. After that, a greenway stretching 16,900 kilometers will cross the whole city covering 14,000 square kilometers, transforming the metropolis into a huge garden.
“Residents will benefit most from the project,” said Gao Jing, president of the architectural landscape section of the Sichuan Provincial Architectural Design and Research Institute. “It will leave a permanent green space that can be passed down from generation to generation.”
The wetlands, lakes and forests dotted around the city will be connected via the greenway. It will also link urban and rural areas, Gao said.
The Tianfu Greenway will serve multiple functions, including ecological protection, encouraging more people to walk or ride a bike, casual sightseeing, rural revitalization, cultural creativity, sports, agricultural landscaping and emergency shelter.
Zhang Qiao, director of Chengdu Urban and Rural Construction Commission, said the greenway will change the way people travel around the city.
“The greenway is designed to link buses and subways so people can use it to walk to find a station easily before making their longer journeys,” Zhang said.
Public service facilities and communities will also be linked by the greenway, he added.
Chengdu’s unique culture, such as its close association with pandas and strong links with the ancient kingdom of Shu during the Three Kingdoms Dynasty (220-280) will be integrated into the greenway.
The Jinjiang Greenway, initiated in late 2017, will focus on the Dujiangyan Irrigation Project, one of the major ancient water conservation projects of China.
Chengdu’s Tianfu Hibiscus Garden, which is set to open in May, part of the Tianfu Greenway, as an ideal place for residents and visitors alike to get back to nature among an array of flower displays.
City officials expect it to become the biggest hibiscus garden with the most diverse varieties of flowers and advanced technologies in the region.
Dating back to the time of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (907-960), colorful hibiscus petals dressed the city walls of Chengdu, with many nicknaming it The Hibiscus City. The government wants to restore that reputation.
“The aroma of flowers will never fade despite the season, due to carefully chosen flower varieties by professionals,” said Tian Weilong, general manager of the southwestern region of COFCO Property.
More than 20,000 hibiscuses from about 30 varieties, together with other 300 plants have been planted in the garden, he added. It will also be equipped with commercial streets for shopping and dining, featuring local specialties such as hibiscus soup, hibiscus chicken and hibiscus tofu.
Sports facilities are also under construction with events including an international marathon and a road bicycle race to be held this year on the Tianfu Greenway.
As of the end of January, a total of 785 km of the greenway had been completed. Even though it is not yet complete, the area has become a success in attracting many people to the new landmark of the city.
A logo for the greenway was released last month featuring a sunbird, hibiscus and gingko pattern – all representative elements of Chengdu.
“The financial benefits brought by the construction of the greenway will far exceed the project’s investment,” said Ren Zhineng, chairman of the board of Chengdu’s Better City, an investment company. “At the same time, it will bring social and environmental benefits.”
By 2020, a total 840 km of regional level greenways will be completed, together with 2,400 km of city and community level greenways. By 2025, the length of regional level greenways will stretch to 1,920 km and the length of city and community level greenways will increase to 8,680 km.
Dujiangyan irrigation system, a cultural relic built in ancient China, is the starting point of the Jinjiang Greenway, part of the Tianfu Greenway, along the Jinjiang River.
A panda-themed section of the Tianfu Greenway near the third ring road of Chengdu has become a beautiful must-visit destination.