Consultant Arup’s masterplan for an entirely sustainable city near Shanghai could be used as a model to be rolled out across China.

The 8400 ha development, which will be built at Dongtan on the island of Chongming at the mouth of the Yangtze river, will be powered by renewable energy sources and will be as close to carbon neutral as possible. Arup won the international competition last week.

Peter Head, a director at Arup and head of Urban Design and development, said that if the city was a success, the model could be used for sites across the whole island and then possibly throughout China.

He said: “It is very likely that other cities will be built in this model and especially in China, where urbanisation is driving GDP up. It is very possible that many, many cities in China will be built this way.”

Head added he hoped the new city would become a template for sustainability in urban planning. He said: “We’re using several different renewable energy sources to harness as much power as possible. We will add to three large wind turbine sites already on the island and will be using solar power, microgeneration and combined heat and power as well as creating energy from waste.”

Arup has been charged with drawing up the city’s architectural and economic development, as well as its social and environmental policies. Developer Shanghai Industrial Investment Corporation is currently looking for international investors to help develop the site.

Dongtan will initially house 80,000 people but will expand to accommodate up to 500,000 as the scheme progresses. The 630 ha first phase of the site will include houses, a transport hub and port, leisure facilities, a financial services district, an education complex and high-tech industries.

Arup expects to receive planning approval by autumn 2006 and will be on site by the end of the year. The first phase is due to be finished by 2010, when Shanghai will host the World Expo.