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At the rate the mainland is putting up buildings, more than 1,500 skyscrapers of 30 storeys or taller – equivalent to the whole city of Chicago – are being constructed every year, research by McKinsey & Co, a global management consulting firm, shows.
The mainland’s “cookie-cutter approach” to large-scale rapid development, as Jonathan Woetzel, a Shanghai-based director at McKinsey, puts it, has hardly been inspirational – not to mention the environmental impact.
The tide is turning, though. At the behest of more enlightened local governments, international architecture firms are introducing alternatives that could see the mainland tackle its pollution problems, from the ground up.
According to the United States Green Building Council, China is home to some of the most ambitious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified buildings in the world. Close to 2,000 LEED projects on the mainland, in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau, representing 110 million gross square metres, make this region the world’s second-largest market for LEED, after the US, according to the report.