Posted on 18. May, 2010 in News

China’s strategy to move around 50 per cent of the country’s population from a rural to an urban environment by 2050 is opening up multibillion dollar opportunities for Victorian urban planning, design and engineering companies, Premier John Brumby said today.

Addressing the Liveable Sustainable Cities of the Future Forum, a key Victoria Week event at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, Mr Brumby said Victorian companies were already sharing in major benefits of China’s population growth strategy.

Mr Brumby said Melbourne-based architects Architektonic, which have just opened an office in Shanghai, were developing a masterplan for a new 900,000 square metre urban development in Tianjin based on Melbourne.

Tianjin and Melbourne are sister-cities and 2010 marks the 30th anniversary of the sister-city relationship.

“Melbourne is renowned as one of the world’s most liveable cities and it is a tribute to our reputation that an entire development in Tianjin is set to be based on how our city looks and feels,” Mr Brumby said.

“This is an exciting proposal by a Melbourne-based firm and shows how our state is leading the way in sustainable urban design on an international level – it reaffirms to the world that Victoria really is a great place to live, work and raise a family.

“The idea for a Melbourne-themed suburb came in part from the strong ties between Melbourne and Tianjin but the developer of this proposal visited cities all over the world before deciding that they wanted to base this new suburb on the great city of Melbourne.

“I commend Director Joburt Betadam, and his team in Shanghai and Melbourne for their accomplishments in not only driving export potential in China, but also supporting other Australian Urban Systems Cluster members in expanding into China – creating jobs and significant economic benefits for Victoria.”

Architektonic’s design concept includes a ‘Melbourne’ street intended to be reminiscent of iconic streets such as Acland Street, Brunswick Street and Lygon Street with outdoor cafes, restaurants and retail shops designed to take the spirit of Melbourne to Tianjin.

It is intended that the development would be both a major residential development in Tianjin but also attract visitors from Victoria, Australia and across the world to view its Melbourne likeness.

The project is in Tianjin at a lake called Dongli Hi and will cover an area of 900,000 square metres with construction expected to start later this year.

Along with a Victorian Government-led 30 company strong Sustainable Urban Development Capability Mission to the Expo, the Liveable Sustainable Cities of the Future Forum is promoting Victoria’s capabilities in sustainable high quality urban developments.

“Victorian companies offer particular strengths in urban planning and design, architecture and engineering, water and wastewater technologies, intelligent transport systems, financial modelling, and education and training services,” Mr Brumby said.

“To help these companies break into international markets, the Victorian Government helped establish the Australian Urban Systems (AUS Cluster) in partnership with the private sector in 2004.”

AUS Cluster, which now has over 50 members, is strategically targeting a fast growing share of the $500 billion annual market in China, India and the Middle East for sustainable urban professional and technical services.

“By combining their strengths and capabilities, AUS members are now working on over $25 billion worth of urban projects in the Middle East and China, including the Eco-AgriCity project in Jiangsu Province, China – a new agricultural city with a Technology Park spanning almost 6,700 hectares,” Mr Brumby said.

“It is anticipated the successful implementation of these projects will be worth over $150 million for Victoria over the next three to five years.”

Also speaking at the Forum, Industry and Trade Minister Jacinta Allan said Victoria’s growing urban design presence in China was highlighted by the new Shanghai office of Architektonic.

“Architektonic has truly proven its place in this active marketplace, working on significant projects in Shanghai, Nanjing, Changzhou and Shenzhen and the master plan for the new Melbourne-style urban development in Tianjin,” Ms Allan said.

“Architektonic’s new Shanghai Office, which I officially opened this week, will accommodate 40 people and deliver distinctive Australian design solutions to the China market place.”

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