Pinggu Sustainable Eco-Edge District (SEED)
The head of the first cohort of mayors in the Paulson Institute Mayors Training Initiative, was so impressed by what he saw during his three-week training program in the United States that he decided to implement what he learned at home. Zhang Jifu, the party secretary and vice mayor of Pinggu District on the outskirts of Beijing, asked the Paulson Institute to develop a sustainable economic development plan to help his district compete with the capital’s more economically developed districts. Zhang is a pragmatic leader, who envisions a branded program that other districts similar to his across China might one day adopt.
Why is Pinggu important? Because getting development right—incorporating environmental and social concerns, as well as pure building—in these types of edge districts, on the outskirts of major cities, will be key for China as Beijing promotes the rise of smaller, self-sufficient suburban communities, taking pressure off of the megalopolises.
The Paulson Institute has been working with Pinggu to develop a more holistic, sustainable model for economic development that might build on eco-tourism and agribusiness, while improving energy efficiency and water conservation. We are helping the district brand the initiative so that the Pinggu model can be replicated across China. The brand will be known as the Sustainable Eco-Edge District (SEED).
To develop the SEED model, we produced a report with recommendations for near-term solutions that can lead to long-term results. A group of American and Chinese experts performed a rapid assessment of the district’s priorities, and the report that followed recommendations monetizing crops other than the peaches for which Pinggu is famous, such as persimmons, and promoting greater energy efficiency in the district’s buildings, as well as developing an integrated and higher profile marketing campaign that will help spread the word.