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Future City Center and Sustainable Ecological Town — Changsha Meixi Lake New Town
Source: GFHS | Author: Mao Wangping, Xie Tao | Publish time: 2020-08-21 | 475 Views | Share:

Abstract: Located at the core of Meixi Lake area in Hunan Xiangjiang New District, Changsha Meixi Lake New Town covers an area of 7.6 square kilometers and a total construction area of about 10.4 million square meters. Taking "mountain, water, people and city" as its core elements and low-carbon sustainable development as its guiding principle, it aims to become a sustainable low-carbon town. This article focuses on the planning features of Meixi Lake New Town in terms of ecological environment protection, comprehensive utilization of water resources, smart cities, green transportation, and solid waste treatment. At the same time, it introduces the project’s performance and progress on relevant eco-city indicators and the corresponding measures. The guiding philosophy of "ecology, energy efficiency, innovation, science and technology" has been carried through the whole process of the project, including "planning, design, technology, construction, operation". Besides, new ideas, systems, and mechanisms have been invented to integrate the resources in the new town, which has laid a good foundation for building a green and ecological new city.

Keywords: Meixi Lake New Town, ecocity, planning, innovation, sustainable development

1. Introduction
Located at the core of the Xiangjiang New Area in Changsha, Meixi Lake New Town covers an area of 7.6 square kilometers, with a total construction area of approximately 10.4 million square meters for residential and commercial buildings and R&D and supporting facilities, a 3,000-mu lake area and the 4,360-mu Taohualing Scenic Area. At present, with "mountains, water, people and architectures" as its core elements and low-carbon sustainable development as its core concept, the Town has begun to show the charm of a city for the future to the world.

Scenery around the Lake

Since its construction in March, 2009, the Town has been approved as "National Ecological Demonstration City" and "National Pilot City for Smart City", and awarded "China Habitat Environment Prize 2014", Global Human Settlements Award on Planning and Design and other national and international honors.

 Meixi Lake International Culture and Art Center 

2. Charm of the New Town

2.1 Ecological Protection
As one of the first recipients of "National Ecological Demonstration City" in China, the Town boasts an original ecological conservation rate of 100% since its public supporting facilities have been integrated with the natural environment, including the mountains, lakes, rivers and vegetation, thanks to the high-standard city planning. Six eco-parks, together with an eco-route of over 15 kilometers, has been built around the lake, with a total area of 8,300 mu. In addition, the lake, coupled with high coverage of cool roofs and full-range shading for slow-moving roads, has created an excellent microclimate environment for the area.

Meixi Lake

Comprehensive Utilization of Water Resources
To ensure the water quality of Meixi Lake, the water quality of rivers, lakes, and canals in the Town were improved, indicating that the water-conservancy project of the lake has realized the goals of water resources utilization, flood prevention and storage, eco-landscape building and environmental protection. At the same time, guided by the sponge city concept, rainwater is fully collected for road watering and landscape irrigation while mountain water from Taohualing is used for lake water supplementation, thus saving water resources and urban operating costs.

2.3 Smart Meixi Lake
Focusing on the positioning characterized by smartness, safety, health, green and vigor for the urban construction goal of a new district with such features, the Town has gradually provided smart networks, smart transportation, public information platforms, citizen convenience cards, smart city operation centers and other services to continuously improve the living environment and the quality of life.

WIFI Hotspots in Public Areas

2.4 Green Transportation
Based on the principle of TOD (Transit Oriented Development Model), green transportation has been set up in the form of mixed transportation such as subways, buses and bicycle rental systems. A case in point is the bicycle lanes around Meixi Lake and Taohualing where the "2012 Jinmao Meixi Lake Cup National Road Cycling Championship—Xidesheng Cup International Bicycle Invitational Tournament around Xiangjiang River, Changsha, China" was held.

2.5 Solid Waste Treatment and Utilization
To reduce the waste discharge of various projects, all new projects are required to meet the green construction standards and perform according to a customized plan or scheme for green construction for less construction waste. At the same time, in accordance with the concept of regeneration, abandoned building cement, concrete and brick slag during the urban transformation process, coupled with recycled water-stable materials, were processed into recycled aggregate materials for roadbed and wall construction.

Solid Waste Recycling

2.6 Green Humanities
The city was planned and constructed fully in accordance with green building standards and in a people-oriented approach to improve residents' engagement in the environment. At the same time, a green campus culture has been advocated so that on campus, students are affected and nurtured by green culture in a subtle way and gradually prompted to motivate their families and the society to improve Meixi Lake's green culture. At the same time, the general affairs office, sub-district office, and residents committee have urged the establishment of a sound environmental protection system. Jinmao, Meixi Lake and other big and responsible real estate companies and all sectors of society have voluntarily co-organized activities on the theme of environmental protection to create green communities.

City Island

3. Implementation of the Indicator System for Ecological Demonstration City
In order to achieve the construction goal, an ecological indicator system, including eight categories and 48 index items, has been established. Since the city applied for the National Ecological Demonstration City in 2012, the construction has been closely centered on various targets. As a result, it was accepted as an eco-city in September 2018. The total per capita carbon emission of the Town is 4.3 tons per year, meeting the expected target of 4.3 tons annually. The indicator system of the Town’s core area includes 20 key indicators and 28 guiding indicators, only eight of which failed to meet the expected targets.

Implementation of Eco-Town Index System

Main category


Index item

Compliance index

Actual index


Overall index

Carbon emissions per capita (t / year)



City planning

site Development

Proportion of mixed-use neighborhoods



Underground space development rate



Block development

Block scale compliance rate (100 ~ 250 × 100 ~ 250)




The ratio of the building height along the street to the street width is larger than 1: 2



Public facilities

Municipal pipe network penetration rate



Barrier-free facilities rate



Architectural planning

Green building

Green building ratio



Building materials

Fully-furnished homes




Local building materials ratio



Green construction

Green construction ratio



Building management

Smart building ratio



Energy planning

Energy efficiency in buildings

Energy efficiency in buildings (energy saving rate ≥65%)




Energy consumption per unit area (public buildings ≤100 kWh / m2·a, residential buildings ≤40 kWh / m2·a)



Monitoring coverage of public building energy consumption



Use of renewable energy

Renewable energy utilization rate




District energy plan

Heating and cooling ratio in public buildings




Public smart grid coverage



Water resources planning

Recycling of water resources

Non-traditional water source utilization




Comprehensive runoff coefficient



Water conservation

Building water saving rate (public construction ≥10%, residential construction ≥9%)



Leakage rate of water supply network



Itemized metering of building water consumption



Eco-environment planning

Regional natural environment

Original ecological preservation rate



Environmental noise compliance



Surface water quality (not below Class III)

Class III

Class III

Microclimate environment

Wind speed in pedestrian areas (≤5 m / s)



Daily average temperature increase triggered by heat island warming (≤1.3 )



Landscape environment

Native plant index



Cool roof coverage



Slow-road shading rate



Traffic planning

Public transit

 Proportion of bus stops within 300 meters



Slow roads (sidewalks/bicycle lanes)

Width of Slow roads (sidewalks/bicycle lanes) (≥2m)



Number of bicycle parking spaces (public construction ≥0.1 parking spaces / person, residential construction ≥0.3 parking spaces / person)



Clean energy transportation

Proportion of clean energy buses



Percentage of priority parking spaces



Solid waste planning

Waste disposal

Per capita domestic garbage/d (≤0.8 kg/person•d)



Construction waste disposal (≤350 t/10,000m2)




Waste sorting

Compliance rate of collection of classified refuses



Recycling of garbage (domestic waste ≥50%; construction waste ≥30%)



Waste treatment and utilization

Harmless waste treatment rate



Green culture planning

Urban management

Proportion of communities with informationized management and services



Green community building

Green community building rate



A sense of green



Number of green schools (kindergartens, elementary schools)



Proportion of green commuting  (public transport ≥40%, slow-moving traffic ≥40%)



Housing and employment balance index



Carbon metering

Carbon emissions coverage




Taohualing Park

4. Challenges and Solutions

4.1 System Improvement

The characteristics of green, ecological and sustainable development are of great significance to improve the quality of urban construction. At the same time, the construction of an eco-town, full of difficulties and challenges, has prioritized planning, management and deployment. As the administrative body of the construction, Hunan Xiangjiang New District Management Committee (formerly the Changsha Dahexi Pilot Area Management Committee) has made the following important decisions to ensure a smooth construction.

(1) Formulating a high-standard guidance plan for Meixi Lake New Town;

(2) Identifying the overall goal and annual construction task;

(3) Realizing a closed-loop management of green buildings during the entire process from construction to operation;

(4) Strengthening technical guidance for green operation;

(5) Incorporating green and humanistic ideas and advocating energy-saving behaviors;

(6) Increasing fund subsidies to ensure well-operated infrastructure.

4.2 Standards Establishment
Before applying for the label of National Green Ecological Demonstration City, authorities of Changsha, Dahexi Pilot District and Meixi Lake New Town respectively formulated 29 technical standard documents, including "Technical Standards of Changsha Resource-Conserving and Environment-Friendly Society Construction", "Guidance Document of Dahexi Development and Construction", and "Related Local Technical Standards of Building a Green Meixi Lake New Town". At the same time, during the construction, in order to better guide the implementation of the green ecological indicator system, the management committee of Hunan Xiangjiang New District organized annual project declarations with more than 10 projects underway. It is the study of these standards and topics that has provided many technical support for the construction, becoming the cornerstone of the Town's achievements and a strong guarantee for its later development.

4.3 Follow-up Development
Energy planning, utilization of non-traditional water sources and full decoration - all of them are often difficult obstacles in the construction of eco-cities. The management committee carefully analyzed the reasons of failing to meet the eight indicators, proposed a series of solutions and planned to achieve the construction goals through policy implementation and technology application in the second phase of the development.

Analysis of Eco-Town Substandard Indicators



Index characteristics




Block scale compliance rate ≥80% (300 × 300)



Developers have been advised to plan larger areas reasonably to provide residents with convenient living facilities.


Well-furnished residence ratio ≥50%


8.25%, Substandard. No mandatory policy was implemented in the early stage of construction.

No.37 Office Announcement [2018] of the Changsha Government has clearly stated that the delivery rate of fully furnished commercial dwellings in the city should not be lower than 70%.


Energy saving rate designed for buildings ≥65%


Substandard. The corresponding mandatory standards were not implemented in the early stages of construction.

Hunan Province has implemented a new design standard for energy-saving buildings (≥65%).


Renewable energy utilization rate ≥10%


Substandard. Settlements were mainly high-rise buildings incompatible with renewable energy technology in the core area.

It is recommended to improve project review and supervision; pro renewable-energy technology projects should be implemented as per technical plans and construction procedures.


Heating and cooling ratio in public buildings≥45%


Substandard. According to experts, the energy station in the core area may affect the ecosystem of the lake, so the plan had to be adjusted.

In Xiangjiang New District, we plan to add a regional energy station in the second phase of the construction, covering a total area of 26 square kilometers. After the expansion, it is expected that the regional energy supply coverage of the first and second (short-term) phases will reach above 64.4%.


Non-traditional water source utilization rate ≥10%


7.84%, Substandard. The site of water recycling plant was re-selected, delaying the process.

The Second-phase construction of the plant has begun. It is expected to reach the target of 10% after completion.


Construction waste disposal (≤350 t/10,000)


Substandard. Changsha did not classify the sources of construction waste.

Changsha has only counted the annual amount of construction waste disposal, but has not categorized the sources of it. It is recommended to strengthen the construction management of new buildings.


Carbon emission monitoring rate reaching 100%


Substandard. Only large public buildings were under energy consumption monitoring.

Based on the development of systems such as energy consumption monitoring and smart cities, a comprehensive metering system will be established during the operation period to improve the Town's comprehensive management ability.

5. Social, Economic and Environmental Benefits
Since March 2009, 55 billion yuan has been funneled to the primary and secondary land development. High-quality cultural, educational, medical, commercial and technological supporting projects have been introduced; a comprehensive ecological functional area with financial and corporate headquarters, technological innovation centers, cultural and creative services, tourism and leisure, and ecological residence has been built. For example, Lanxiu City, International R&D Center, International Culture and Art Center, Taohualing Scenic Area, City Island, North-South Green Axis, etc., have become important hubs for the integration of life, work, production and entertainment in the Town.

In addition, breakthroughs have been made in building a resource-conserving and environment-friendly society. Six major parks with a total area of more than 8,300 mu and an ecological green axis with a total length of over 15 kilometers have been built and open for the public. Energy-saving technologies have been fully tapped into for green architectures and an initial green travel system, marking a full launch of smart city construction.

The Town has been witnessing a continuous development of industries and the society, shaping the image of new urban center of Changsha and even of the future.

6. Summary
As an international, ecological and sustainable new town building on the innovation of science and technology, Meixi Lake New Town aims to introduce and develop green, recyclable and low-carbon development philosophy and actively implements the national policy of energy conservation and emissions reduction, to build an ecological pattern featuring less energy and emissions together with enterprises, the market and the society as a whole.

Guided by the concepts of “ecology, energy conservation, innovation and technology” — the leading philosophy for development and construction, novel ideas, systems and mechanisms have been introduced to integrate resources for the overall process, including planning, designing, technology application, construction and operation, laying a good foundation and orientation for the development of a new green town while providing valuable experience for the advancement of ecological cities around the globe.

Article and photos by Mao Wangping, Changsha Jinmao Real Estate Co., Ltd., and Xie Tao, Hunan Bohong Energy Saving Technology Co., Ltd., 2017