Chengdu Currently Building the World's Longest Urban Greenway

CHENGDU, China, Sept. 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- At 11 am on September 2, construction for phase one of the Brocade City Greenway, one of the "three rings" of the Tianfu Greenway System, broke ground, indicating the official commencement of the establishment of Chengdu's Tianfu Greenway program by the Chengdu Municipal Government.

In the future, Chengdu will forge a citywide, three-tier greenway system that encompasses the entire city at the district, urban and community levels. The district-level greenway, comprised of "one axis, two mountains, three rings, seven paths," measures 1,920 kilometers in mileage and is connected with the networks of urban-level greenways inside the different urban regions, which total over 5,000 kilometers. The district-level greenway system also joins with over 10,000 kilometers of community-level greenways, which link together kindergarten and other facilities in their respective community.

"Of all cities around the globe today, in terms of municipal- or district-level greenways, the Tianfu Greenway is the longest," declared Zhang Jing, Chief Architect of Institute of Landscaping of the China Southwest Architectural Design and Research Institute.

Actually, planning for the establishment of greenways has become a vital component in the development of internationalized metropolises. Through large-scale planning and formation of greenbelt and greenway networks, the once "Foggy City" of London transformed from a city of heavy pollution into a city of gardens; Singapore, the world-famous "Garden City," incorporated a seamless greenway system into its tightly-packed urban layout, and is arguably the best blueprint for the many rapidly-developing Asian cities. Meanwhile, Japan, with a relatively small territory and a high population density, relies on greenways to unite its many mountains, rivers and scenic spots, which together serve to alleviate many urban issues of its big cities. Zhang Jing explained, "Greenway is not only a boulevard for bicycles, it reflects a city's actions driven by a green developmental concept, embodies the motivation to promote harmonious industry-city-citizen development and symbolizes the aspiration to revitalize and cultivate the ecological environment."

It has been understood that according to the step-by-step plan based on different levels and different categories, Chengdu aims to finish the "two rings, one axis" of its greenways (Brocade City Greenway, Tianfu Greenway, Panda Greenway) by 2020, complete 1,920 kilometers of main greenway system in the city by the beginning of 2025, and fully accomplish the mission of a citywide greenway system network in 2040.

The greening of a city not only enhances the habitat and augments the elegance of the city, it is also crucial to a city's development. In the 1950s, New York City was in the midst of an unprecedented urbanization progress with a ceaseless influx of people and a break-neck expansion of its economy. Public spaces needed by citizens became an issue that mandated an urgent resolution if the city were to continue growing. Thus emerged Central Park, which not only fulfilled the function of urban greenery in New York but also became a world-class tourist attraction.

Following the rapid development of the Chinese economy, the standard of urbanization in China also rises, and at the same time the ecological improvements in Chinese cities have garnered much interests for the many feats achieved. Chengdu is one of such classic examples.

As early as 1998, Chengdu was the recipient of the UN-Habitat Scroll of Honor Award for its comprehensive renovation project of the Funan River. In the five years between 2010 and 2015, Chengdu created 31 wetland parks and in 2015, due to its accomplishments in greenery and ecology, Chengdu was granted status among China's "First Batch of Distinguished Green Development Cities". As one of the most important civic well-being projects of Chengdu, the completion of the city-ring ecology zone in 2020 will turn one-third of the usable land in the urban area of Chengdu into green space. Chengdu citizens will be blessed by a picturesque, verdant and serene city-ring ecology featuring "mountains, forests, lakes, rivers, wetlands, grasslands, fields and greenways" right outside the doorstep.

Today, anyone strolling along the streets of Chengdu can immerse into the lushness of its greenery. Swaths of vines embellish the exteriors of many structures with beautiful shades of green, and the Second Ring Road and Third Ring Road have been "dyed green" as well. Currently, 4,280 bridge piers have been planted with vines and total greening area reaches over 190,000 square meters.

More than a millennium ago, venerated ancient Chinese poet Du Fu once said "my window frames the snow on Mount Xiling from a thousand years ago," and today Chengdu is still the same city where that very snow mountain can still be seen. Due to Chengdu's ecological efforts, when the weather is nice citizens are able to see the snow mountain, which is over two hundred kilometers away, right from their balconies. According to statistics, since April 2017, the faraway snow mountain was observable from Chengdu on more than ten occasions.

"Building the Tianfu Greenway is a major endeavor that matches the stature of Chengdu as a National Central City". Vice President of Chengdu Institute of Planning and Design Wang Xiaoqi believes that not only does the planning of the Tianfu Greenway satisfy Chengdu's developmental requirement of establishing a low-carbon city, it can also thoroughly increase the quality of life of both urban and rural citizens, improve the city's functions, strengthen local visual features and augment the sophistication of development.

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