Foreign Policy Blogs

Green Building +

I've been preparing an article for the FPA on green building and coming up with some great stuff some of which I wanted to get out now.  There are some incredible projects out there and more on the drawing boards.  I've interviewed Kevin Hydes, chair of the World Green Building Council,  for the article.  (See Solar Boating and Green Building from May 14 for more about Kevin.)  He said that exciting projects are "blossoming" all over the world.

One of the ones that jazzed him the most was the reclamation – and vast improvement – of an area in Seoul that had been blighted for years by a freeway.  The Cheonggyecheon Restoration Project, described in this fascinating article, Buried Treasure, from "Civil Engineering  Magazine," peeled the freeway away to restore a long-hidden stream and provide truly great access for the public.  It's quite a fairytale , but it's true.  "O brave new world"

There is another exciting project across the Yellow Sea from Korea in Shanghai.  Dongtan is going to be built on Chongming, a 750-square-mile island at the mouth of the Yangtze River.  The world's first "ecocity" is being built by the Chinese in partnership with international firms like Arup and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill.  Arup's website has a discussion of the project with several informative videos with their director of sustainability, Peter Head.  SOM's website has a great overview with some vivid graphics.  Great stuff.  Finally, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development has an article focusing on the project but also giving an overview of China's quest for sustainable projects.  (WBCSD has a big initiative on green building that I'll discuss in my forthcoming FPA article.)  Dongtan is one giant leap for China. 

My friend, Mike Vickerman (see his guest post from July 2), was in town and was walking around Midtown Manhattan and was impressed by the building site that is to be the BofA Tower at One Bryant Park.  The Bank of America headquarters will be the world's "most sustainable skyscraper."  This interview with the architect, Bob Fox, takes you inside the project.  ( is a superb resource.)  I hope to get a look inside another major Manhattan green commercial development soon , The Hearst Tower. 

In the Middle East, there's a lot of construction, to say the least.  Kevin told me he'd heard that 17% of the world's construction cranes are in Dubai.  Here's just one exciting project from W.S. Atkins & Partners in Dubai:  The Lighthouse.  Only on the drawing board at this stage , but check out the website for the stunning design , this tower will employ " passive solar architecture, many low energy, low water engineering solutions, recovery strategies for both energy and water and building integrated renewables , including large scale wind turbines and photovoltaics."  Yee haw!

Finally, for now, I'm going to leave you with another new sustainable city design , in the middle of the desert.  The first project of the "Masdar Initiative," in Abu Dhabi, will be a  " 6 million square meter sustainable development that uses the traditional planning principals of a walled city, together with existing technologies, to achieve a zero carbon and zero waste community."  Sweet.  See the project plan and some graphics from the architects, Foster and Partners.

There'll be more here on green building for sure.  I just had to get some of these out for your viewing pleasure today.  Enjoy.



Bill Hewitt

Bill Hewitt has been an environmental activist and professional for nearly 25 years. He was deeply involved in the battle to curtail acid rain, and was also a Sierra Club leader in New York City. He spent 11 years in public affairs for the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, and worked on environmental issues for two NYC mayoral campaigns and a presidential campaign. He is a writer and editor and is the principal of Hewitt Communications. He has an M.S. in international affairs, has taught political science at Pace University, and has graduate and continuing education classes on climate change, sustainability, and energy and the environment at The Center for Global Affairs at NYU. His book, "A Newer World - Politics, Money, Technology, and What’s Really Being Done to Solve the Climate Crisis," will be out from the University Press of New England in December.

Areas of Focus:
the policy, politics, science and economics of environmental protection, sustainability, energy and climate change