Aerial view of a science and technology park at Chengdu's Tianfu New Area. Photos provided to China Daily
Chengdu, a megacity in southwestern China, is gearing up for its goal of transforming itself into a "garden city" by 2035, adding a green dimension to its latest urban development plan.
In early 2018, the city government added the new task to Chengdu's overall city planning for 2016-35.
Another specific garden city design, unveiled in May, said that a "beautiful, livable garden city" is scheduled to take basic shape in Chengdu in 2035, creating a new city development model driven by an "ecological civilization".
The idea for a garden city reflects a brand-new development concept, which features a community comprised of people, the physical city, the environment and industry all operating in perfect harmony, said Zeng Jiuli, head of the Chengdu Institute of Planning and Design.
Construction of such a garden city, which puts emphasis on a balance between environmental protection and economic growth, is pivotal to meeting residents' expectations for better lives and reshaping the city's competitiveness in the new era, Zeng said.
The Tianfu Greenway, intended to be the longest urban greenway system in the world, will be a major artery running through the garden city. The project was initiated in May 2017 and plans to link nature reserves, parks and greenbelts dotted across the entire metropolis.
The 16,900-kilometer greenway is scheduled to be completed in 2035. Then the greenway system will help to turn the 14,600-square-kilometer city into what is effectively a huge park, local officials said.
The Tianfu Greenway will additionally be able to both serve as an emergency shelter and be part of rural landscape, Zeng said.
The greenway system will also be used for leisure tours and sports events, she said, adding that it will link industrial clusters, facilitate the incorporation of businesses into the city's growth and promote the development of what is known as all-for-one tourism - which holistically integrates tourism resources with other sectors - in the process of creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.
To the east of downtown Chengdu is Longquan Mountain, which will be transformed into a world-class environmental zone at the heart of the city.
The Longquan Mountain City Forest Park, which is planned to span a total area of 1,275 square kilometers, is being positioned as an area of ecological beauty and resources that appeals to international visitors in particular, according to local officials.
On the eastern side of the mountain, the local government plans to develop a new eco-friendly city area. Construction of a new international airport and its proximity to Chongqing will boost the growth of the eastern new area, the officials said.
The key to building a garden city is developing eco-friendly businesses and industrializing environmental protection, according to the Chengdu government.
The city has given priority to developing such sectors as advanced manufacturing, high-tech services, modern finance and the cultural and creative industry, in a bid to build an open, high-quality industrial system.
Chengdu's Tianfu New Area is advancing the construction of information technology infrastructure, expanding access to the latest 5G telecommunications network and focusing on developing "new economy" sectors, including artificial intelligence.
Building a so-called island for unicorns - defined as startup companies worth at least $1 billion - in the Tianfu New Area is another ambitious initiative of the city to develop the new economy.
To help advance the cause of the unicorn hub, the Chengdu government is seeking solutions to planning, building and managing models for the balanced development of industries, people and nature in the garden city.
Since its construction began in July 2018, it has attracted a host of investment projects, including a chip research and development center and an AI tech headquarters.
In early December, an AI innovation center was inaugurated at the unicorn business hub, as the first project put into operation in the area.
The authorities of Tianfu New Area are also working to create featured business zones, including a Science City.
With environmental protection as a priority of their endeavors, the authorities are devoted to the integrated development of agriculture, commerce, culture and tourism. They have added eco-friendly industrial projects and are encouraging spending on environmental protection.