For transforming their city into a green home with new housing and infrastructure
Well executed urban planning is what caught the judges’ eyes in this entry. Under the banner Planning an Ecological City and Building a Livable Home, the municipal government embarked on major improvements starting with infrastructure which saw improvements on roads, parks, town squares, water supplies, drainage, sewage treatment as well as garbage disposal facilities. It helped boost the handling capacity of Rizhao Port and Lanshan Port to some 150 million tonnes in 2008; the Heze-Rizhao railway line was double tracked and over 50 new highways were completed. It saw to the restoration and protection of beaches, reefs, forests and parks. Five key rivers were cleaned up. While improving the economy, the project emphasised clean energy whereby it vigorously promoted the use of solar, methane and wind power. Utilization rate of solar power has gone up 99 percent. In recognition of these efforts, Rizhao won the first World Clean Energy Award in 2007, and is still the only city in China to achieve that feat. The economy has improved owing to the project and in 2008 the GDP reached 9.66 billion US dollars. People’s living conditions have improved while the city is still holding dear to the concept of a ‘primitive’ ecological environment featuring a blue sky, a blue sea and golden beaches.