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Beijing's largest park to open


Beijing's newest and largest park will open to the public next year, bringing with it jobs and a host of ecological benefits, according to city officials.

Work on the park, which covers an area twice the size of the ancient Summer Palace, in the city's southwest Fengtai district is well under way, and it should be ready to open alongside the ninth China International Garden Expo, which will start in May.

Sun Yushan, deputy director of the expo's planning office, said the 5.13-sq-km park will become a major cultural and recreational attraction, featuring the China Garden Museum, an area being called the "Splendid Valley", a lake holding more than 1.8 million cubic meters of water, and five exhibition zones.

"The urban greenbelt along the Yongding River, the city's mother river, will be developed into an eco-friendly garden park, and the expo will greatly accelerate the development of west Beijing," he said.

Hua Weijun, deputy director in charge of the expo's construction, added: "The lake will be grand and beautiful."

Hua added that the wetlands surrounding the park will purify 80,000 cubic meters of recycled water a day, ensuring good water quality in the lake and weakening wind speeds, cutting atmospheric dust and reducing the temperature difference between day and night.

The China International Garden Expo, hosted by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and the Beijing municipal government, will run from May until November and feature 46 exhibitions from 60 cities, spread over an area of 140,000 square meters.

According to the planning office, most of the construction and installation of water, electricity and telecommunication equipment will be finished by January.

The site will be linked to Beijing Subway's new Line 14, which is expected to begin operating in March.

One of the expo's focuses will be energy conservation, and a host of environmentally friendly features have been included in the park's design.

Its hot water supplies, and the heating systems in its buildings, for instance, are all based on a ground-source pump system, which will save some 1,520 metric tons of coal and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 2,840 tons a year, project leaders said.

Lighting on roads and lawns, as well as monitoring systems and auxiliary backup power supplies, will be powered by solar panels.

In addition, rainfall on pavement and squares will be collected and used for irrigation, which "will greatly achieve economic, social and ecological benefits", Hua added.

An intelligent automatic control system will be used to maintain the landscape.

"The system can adjust the amounts of water used according to meteorological data and the amount of water different plants need in different seasons," Hua said.

"Compared with artificial irrigation, the utilization efficiency is above 85 percent and uses more than 50 percent less water a year."

The expo park site used to be barren ground, covered with sparse vegetation.

Sun said the project returned lush greenery to the area and has brought economic benefit to a previously unused area of the capital.

"The expo has accelerated infrastructure construction, with Line 14 two years ahead of schedule," he said. "The roads around the park will also be put into operation early to provide convenient transportation options for residents."

While the expo will create jobs, it will also make room for polluting industries to move out of the city.

As part of the overall plan, the reconstructed area of Beijing Shougang No 1 Refractory Materials Factory, around the West Fifth Ring Road, will be rejuvenated with new office space, commercial units and high-end residences.

In addition, areas of the Beijing No 2 Machine Tool Works, covering an area of 50 hectares extending to the West Fifth Ring Road, will be improved through upgrades and reconstruction.

"What the expo will bring to the region and district is beyond measure," Hua said. "We're really looking forward to when it's up and running."(China Daily)

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