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Groundwork has worked for several years with the Shuangkou Township government, 3 Chinese Universities and several U.S. universities on concepts for a model eco-village in China.  What follows is a summary of the project.


Groundwork focuses primarily on three issues: 1) Creating high quality living environments that are available to all people, not just the wealthy, 2) Building these in an environmentally healthy way, and 3) Involving local people in the design and construction so they may replicate the project.


Central to this proposal is how we work. Groundwork’s objective is to benefit ordinary people and the environment we all share. Our intention is to build a model that may be used by many others. Our design and development processes are participatory with the users and local community as well as students and local professionals. All work is done cooperatively with local people. Our team includes top international specialists who provide ideas and information that is not available locally. Local professionals bring regional knowledge that creatively adapts these ideas to local conditions. We ensure that the actual plans are done by local people thereby teaching while doing. As a result, when the project is completed there is a team of people locally who know how to do everything and can successfully replicate the model.


Village resident Tianjin, China


As you know, our world faces environmental problems such as global warming and acid rain that are planetary in scale. These problems have been largely created by the rich countries with about 1/3 of the world’s population. For example, the U.S. with 5% of the world’s population produces 24% of its greenhouse gases1.  The other 2/3rds of the world wants to develop as we have. If they follow in our footsteps we are in big trouble.


Groundwork has been working on these problems for over 20 years. When we pointed this problem out in the past, people seemed to have the view that, yes, this is a good point but actually all these poor people can’t really do much. China and India, however, are now developing at a tremendous pace. The negative environmental consequences will be serious and quick and not just for China & India which are already suffering serious problems from the degradation of their environment. On some days nearly 25% of polluting matter above Los Angeles can be traced to Asia according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This is while China consumes 1/10 of the energy per capita that the U.S. consumes. It is therefore extremely important that we demonstrate a way to develop that is healthy for the environment.


1. [Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, DOE. China Country Analysis Brief July 2003. Chart of 2001 Energy Related Carbon Emissions.]


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