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GREEN CITY


THE BIG PICTURE


PICKING UP AN AWARD FOR SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND CULTURAL CONSERVATION IS A BIG WIN FOR SUZHOU, SAYS GREG BAKER


T


he Chinese smart city of Suzhou has been awarded the 2014 Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize, recognising the city’s achievement


of balancing sustainable economic development with cultural conservation. Te jury for the Prize explained that Suzhou had excelled in “balancing rapid urban growth with the need to protect its cultural and built heritage, and coping with a large influx of migrant workers while maintaining social stability.” Te Prize is named after Singapore’s


first Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, for his vision of turning the country into a clean and green city. Tis is a fitting tribute, as Suzhou itself was created as a joint venture between the Chinese and Singapore government in 1994, and one was of the first smart city projects of its kind. Te original Chinese city of Suzhou was


situated in Eastern China, and founded in 514 BC. It has 2,500 years of rich history, with its gardens and canals making it one of the major centres for tourism in China. Te success in merging this history with urban development was one of the major factors in Suzhou winning the award. Te Stone Lake Scenic District project


was one of the city’s most innovative initiatives, resettling rural farmers to urban areas to prevent their farming activities from contaminating the lake. Suzhou’s local government offered the farmers three residential units in exchange for one unit of farm residence, enabling the city to protect its natural water resources, while safeguarding the society and livelihood of its residents. Tis project, among others, represented strong urban management as well as a commitment to environmental issues.


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