Topic Lunch Presentation – “Urbanisation in China” by Alastair McMahon (BioRegional)

By Rosemary Willatt, on 7 November 2012

Alastair McMahon Last Monday Alastair McMahon (BioRegional) gave the third presentation of the Environmental Sustainability Topic Lunch series entitled “Urbanisation in China.”

Alastair discussed recent changes in Chinese styles of living such as rural-to-urban migration, with 350 million new urban dwellers predicted by 2020, and a shift from an export-focussed to a consumer-focussed economy.


These changes, combined with economic pressures, present several sustainability challenges for China.

The grid carbon intensity is twice that of the UK since generation is mostly from coal. Alastair showed a photo of a barge which collects coal from riverside coal distribution docks on the Yangtze River.

The explosion in residential development, mostly in the form of high-rise buildings, are typically arranged in large gated communities with limited shared space and access to public services and retail, thus encouraging car use.

Waste disposal by incineration is expanding, threatening traditional waste reuse and recycling through informal networks.

Thank you Alastair for a very interesting presentation and we look forward to the next presentation on November 26th:

Stephanie Gauthier (UCL Energy Institute) “Mapping personal thermal comfort – an application to dwellings”

To see the full list of upcoming presentations visit the Environmental Sustainability Topic Lunch page.