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Starting in 2006, the Chinese authorities became involved in several urban sustainable development programs. For instance, in 2008 the city of Tangshan and the Swedish Government signed an agreement for the construction of the Caofeidian Eco-City. In 2010, the Ministry of Housing, Urban and Rural Development (MOHURD)branded the city of Shenzhen as the first low-carbon city.
Another leading example is the seaport city of Ningbo in Zheji ang Province, which has developed a comprehensive Smart City plan to be implemented from 2011 to 2015. The plan includes building a modern metropolis, restructuring industrial areas and improving quality of life. The Smart Grid is also a strong point of focus with RMB16 billion (US$2.58 billion) planned investment in the power grid. These measures should enable Ningbo to achieve a 10 per cent share of clean energy – including wind power, solar energy and natural gas.
Within China today, more than 120 initiatives – under various titles such as Eco-Cities, Low-Carbon Cities and Smart Cities – have been launched by several government departments or government related structures, including the National Development and Reform Committee; Ministry of Transportation; Ministry of Science and Technology; and Ministry of Housing and Rural Development (MOHURD).
At the end of January 2013, MOHURD selected the first batch of 90 pilot smart cities, including 37 prefecture-level cities, 50 districts (and counties) and three townships. Traffic management represents one of the key objectives in most of these projects. Demand is increasing for more efficient public transportation and traffic management. This requires moving from current standalone management structures to more integrated and interconnected platforms. Such platforms allow better information collection and sharing, and enable both operators and end users to make better decisions.