Narrative # 4 [Criticism – Socially Harmonious] Tianjin’s potential and downfall

Tianjin has to show itself as sustainable, especially when regarding the citizens it wants to have, as well as the overall habitability of the city. The advertisements for the city had slogans like “Making Happiness Sustainable” and “Energy-saving. Comfort. Health. Green Makes Your Life Perfect”. What becomes apparent is the population that the city is trying to attract is a specific group, as they market eco-living as a lifestyle rather than a concern for the masses.

The selling points for the housing around the city are the conditions they offer from within the residential estates. Potable drinking water and filtered air inside the apartments become the ideal; health and comfort are what is considered green. It is clear then that the city aims at having a better environment within the city and for its citizens, rather than a helpful force to battle climate change for the rest of the country, and the world.

Furthermore, there is evidence that the main consumer for Tianjin should be of middle class or up. For example, while 10% of the units available in the eco-city were made into affordable housing, the residents must be working within the area. Only technology companies are based in Tianjin, which require higher skill workers for their products, thus calling for citizens of a usually average-high wealth.

In conclusion, Tianjin Eco-city is becoming a wealth based community, with its economy as the main sustainable aspect to it. With this questionable version of environmentally friendly based ideals, there could become a segregation to who is allowed to live there.

Caprotti, Federico. Eco-cities and the transition to low carbon economies. Springer, 2014.

Caprotti, Federico, Cecilia Springer, and Nichola Harmer. “‘Eco’For Whom? Envisioning Eco‐urbanism in the Sino‐Singapore Tianjin Eco‐city, China.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 39, no. 3 (2015): 495-517.

Kaiman, Jonathan. “China’s ‘Eco-Cities”: Empty of Hospitals, Shopping Centers and People.” The Guardian, April 14, 2014.

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