Over the years, Qingdao International Economic Cooperation Zone has been committed to the green, low-carbon and sustainable development philosophy. With its ecological conditions as the basis, the Zone takes the UN Habitat Scroll of Honour Award recipient cities such as Freiburg as benchmark and actively explores the low impact development model to build a sponge city and promote sound water circulation in the city, so as to create a green, comfortable and relaxing eco-environment for residents, and build a sponge city demonstration area in Qingdao.
I. Set the new sponge city model by designating three-reduction areas
Studying from the globally recognized green city Freiburg and fully considering the geological and topographic features of the Zone, an ecological sensitive zone and an ecological control line have been designated. Core subjects under protection are identified. Specific and targeted control index and measures have been made to guild differentiated development and construction in different types of areas. The original topographic features and textures are preserved and utilized.
At the same time, a new model for building sponge city has been put forward. The Sino-German future city will reduce rainwater pipelines to build a sponge city, reduce sewage pipelines to reclaim water and reuse biomass energy, and replace central heating to conduct non-fossil fuel distributed heating.
II．Protect geographic and topographic features with low impact development
In the process of construction and development, large-scale demolition, construction, digging and reclaiming have been avoided. Original topographic features are fully utilized. No less than 40% of the original topographic features and textures will be preserved. Mountains, water veins, and roads are well protected. Former damage made due to mountainous quarries is rectified via fracture repair and afforestation. Six seriously damaged mountains including Longdou Mountain have been repaired.
The Ecopark follows the guidance of low-intensity development. It follows the natural contour of the landform to build a theme park as leisure space for residents in the southern highland, and convert the foundation ditch in the north into a water garden. At the same time, technologies including permeable pavement and water flow control are extensively applied in the construction of an ecological park that features green landscape, leisure, performance and exhibition.
III. Protect the natural water system with ecological transformation
River ecological protection is carried out to purify water quality. Natural accumulation, permeation and purification are therefore realized. Comprehensive regulation of small river reaches is promoted according to local conditions. Water source protection and 35-plus-hectare wetland are planned. Three important rivers, i.e., Shanlong River, Shanwang River, and Jiuqu River as well as 24 small reservoirs have been restored.
Shanwang River Park has a planned area of 120,000 m2. The waterway covers about 15,000 m2. The original waterway was heavily polluted because it is close to the village. The river often flooded during flood season and severely affected the normal life of villagers. Therefore, the park is designed and built drawing on the experience of the Olympic Park in Munich, Germany. The original water system, culvert and surrounding villages and roads are planned in a holistic way. The overall water level, riverbank line, landform, roads, vegetation are transformed with ecological improvement. Through topographic finishing and plants design, and by utilizing the original pond and surrounding wetland to detain and store water, shave the flood peak and purify water quality, the wetland ecology has been further improved. Following the principle of “circular use, low carbon and environment protection”, old materials such as millstones, crossties and tiles are widely reused. Ecological and technological construction techniques are used to turn old dirty rivers to clear ones. Thus, a first-class wetland park and ecological landmark is being created.
IV．Protect our green home by creating an idyllic environment
To build a beautiful and livable green ecological area, 40% of the land in the Ecopark is for industrial use, 40% for green space and 40% for residence. Green cover is over 50%. Per capita green space is no less than 15 m2. Green spaces can be seen within 300 meters from any place, and parks 500 meters.
A sponge city that can breathe is being built where light rain won’t cause ponding and heavy rain won’t cause flood. The length of permeable pavement roads under construction is about 21 km. The area of the road surface is 85,000 m2. Concave green land is about 30,000 m2. The annual surface runoff control rate has reached 80%, 5 percentage points higher than the target of Qingdao. The Ecopark has offered its Sino-German solutions to the urban flood problem of the city. The water permeable and noise reducing pitch road surface comprehensive construction technology is recognized by Ministry of Transport as a key technological accomplishment to be rolled out nationwide.
V．Pursue economic and social benefit by doing the math wisely
The construction cost of sponge city will increase to an extent， but the sponge city plan saves about 15-30% cost than traditional construction plan，in consideration of later operation expenses and indirect benefits such as social benefit (city flood prevention, ecological improvement, etc.), environmental benefit (pollution reduction, underground water replenishment, etc.), economic benefit (real estate value appreciation, construction cost cut, etc.) and aesthetic benefit (cityscape, etc.). And the effect will amplify as time goes by.
At present, the Ecopark has formulated a series of guiding documents such as Sino-German Ecopark Sponge City Construction Management Measures and has established a unique guarantee system in accordance with the big-departments-structure of the Ecopark, thus creating a replicable model for the construction of a sponge city.
Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Construction and Shandong Provincial Housing and Urban-Rural Construction Department held green development seminars in the Ecopark respectively. The Evening News headline on Qingdao TV gave a special report on the sponge city construction practices and achievement of the Ecopark, which has become a new highlight of the Ecopark.