Dongtan was a proposal in the People’s Republic of China (The PRC) to help eleviate overpopulation within Shanghai. The scheme was ultimately scraped due to both environmental (As the site was originally on and later within a few km of an area of wetland important for native bird species) and economic reasons.

The plan was to have 5 eco-cities around the PRC, each housing 500,000- 1,000,000 people. Dongtan was one of these. It was going to be connected by a 25km long bridge and a tunnel to Shanghai. It was planned to have been completed by 2050.



Industrial and commercial centres would have been built within the city.

Residential areas

Homes would be built along canals, and have small wind turbines to reduce household energy bills. Housing would be based in small communities with a variety of facilities, including schools, shops, nurseries and a health centre.

Environmental factors

60% of the land would have been kept as green space (which, not meaning to sound overly harsh, although is a lovely idea, anyone who has ever been in a city in their lives would know that most of this would have been built on within another 20 years or so).

Pollution regulations would have been harsh and enforced properly.


The city would have had a fully integrated public transport system, including solar-powered water taxis and hydrogen fuel-cell cars. Cycle paths and walkways would have been included to reduce vehicle use.


Plant waste would have fueled a power station, providing 65% of Dongtan’s predicted energy needs. The rest of the energy would be supplied by solar or wind power- including the turbines attached to houses.


The city had an aim at 90% recycled waste. Human sewage would have been used for composting and eventually fertiliser.


(Image sources: )

(I am aware that many will view it as highly political to address “China” as the People’s Republic of China, but it is what they are listed as by the UN, and that’s a fair thing to decide my terms by. Also, referring to the actual territory of the Republic of China as the RoC is far easier for everyone’s sake; regardless of whether anyone reading this views it as a separate state or not.)


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