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Science
COSTING THE EARTH
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Thursday 21:00-21:30
Costing the Earth tells stories which touch all our lives, looking at man's effect on the environment and at how the environment reacts. It questions accepted truths, challenges the people in charge and reports on progress towards improving the world we live in.
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LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
Listen to 27 April
PRESENTER
MIRIAM O'REILLY
Miriam O'Reilly
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Thursday 27 April 2006
Dongtan nature reserve
Miriam and architect, Alejandro Gutierrez visit Dongtan

Dongtan: Eco-City

The greatest movement of people in world history is under way. Three hundred million Chinese peasants will move to cities in the next twenty years. That means massive expansion for existing urban areas and the building of three to four hundred brand new cities. Miriam O'Reilly has been to China to see what these new cities could look like.

The Chinese are well aware that cities have a massive impact on the environment so they've commissioned the British engineering company, Arup to create a model eco-city where half a million people will live and work without damaging the environment. Their electricity will come from wind and wave, their sewage will fertilise the surrounding farmland and their water will be harvested from the skies and recycled.

The building of Dongtan on an island close to Shanghai is a horrendously expensive project but the Chinese are convinced that their investment will pay off. The new technology and new modes of urban living pioneered at Dongtan will, they hope, be replicated throughout China and sold on to a world desperate for environmentalas solutions.

But can a city with heart and soul really be designed on a London drawing board? Can the good ideas of Dongtan be rolled out quickly enough to keep up with the break-neck pace of China 's urban development?
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