diesel powered irrigation II

by John A. Herbert
Hong Kong, a diesel truck coasts along the fast lane of the highway (near MegaBox) to water the plants. It was a hot day, so spraying (misting) water into the air helps it evaporate easily wasting water.

At the same time the opportunity to use rainwater from the highway directly above is loss because it is piped and needlessly dumped into the common sewer system (Hong Kong has a single sewer and storm water sewerage system), there is a better way!

eco cities, districts, and buildings

There has been increasing traction for the concept of a sustainable city, I for one have a dozen conference invites on hand which is one measure. And from the engineering perspective alone is long overdue. In the Hong Kong context, I advocate for expanding the focus from a single building to the wider and scalable community thus leveraging the advantage through integrated design (see my blog post green communities).

Eco City Ideas

Artist’s Impression of Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City by Keppel

Having just read the LSEcities survey [link] interestingly enough it included the category eco-districts and buildings {section B2}.  I take that as further recognition, solutions for  climate change not only require efforts in our buildings, but also through the local infrastructure development.  Hong Kong is blessed, approx. 43% of the population live 500 metres from the rail network, and more than 50% of the jobs are located less than 500 metres from those stations.

However, it’s not immediately obvious from those glowing stats that there is a glaring omission, the jobs are not always located near the sites of the new towns.  The new town of Tin Shui Wai is probably the most graphic example, this planned new town was built alone out, in the northern part of the New Territory. It became infamous and labelled “City of Sadness” because this new district was poorly planned, and lack any significant commercial activity, with very few local businesses, high local employment and despair reigned.

Although Hong Kong has efficient transport system, for Tin Shui Wai residents the long commute also cut deep into their pay packets.  The publicity surrounding the “City of Sadness” caused the Hong Kong government to act and actively encouraged business to create jobs in that region, too little too late in my view.

I argue again and again that employment and housing should co-exist, then the whole community can thrive.  From the engineering and infrastructure perspective too it makes sense, employment and homes are opposites of the same coin. Yet the benefits for integrated planning and design for the next green community or eco-district are overlooked in the rush to rapidly develop new housing.