Green Dreams

From Our Files

China: Undermined
FRONTLINE/World reporter Duane Moles explores the dangerous business of coal mining in China -- dangerous for the environment, the coal miners themselves and the villages being literally undermined by the booming industry.

Related Articles

Newsweek: ‘Building in Green’
As in this Newsweek story from September 2005, coverage of the Huangbaiyu project prior to its first phase of completion often emphasized the promise of William McDonough's design principles applied to Chinese development. 

China Map

Sustainable Industries Journal: ‘Big Trouble in Rural China?’
Soon after the first 42 houses in Huangbaiyu were complete, word that the houses would not be occupied began to spread. Sustainable Industries Journal was the first to report that the development was not all its planners had hoped.

BBC: ‘Making Cities Work – China’
As part of its series on urbanization, the BBC used the development in Huangbaiyu to examine the issue of sustainable building in China, while also acknowledging the uncertain future of the project.

The Age: ‘China’s First Eco-Village Proves a Hard Sell’
By August 2006, the media had begun to acknowledge the failed dreams of Huangbaiyu. Australia’s The Age newspaper called it “a classic case of good intentions gone horribly wrong.” ‘From Harvard to Huangbaiyu’
This article profiles UC Berkeley anthropologist Shannon May, who spent 2006 in Huangbaiyu teaching English to children and conducting research on rural development in China.

Far Eastern Economic Review: ‘A Sino-U.S. Sustainability Sham’ 
In this April 2006 article, Shannon May details some of the institutional and planning problems she observed in Huangbaiyu. According to May, U.S. Fortune 500 companies fund the China-U.S. Center for Sustainable Development to gain unique access to high-ranking Chinese government officials known for their own self-interest. That is just one of many contributing factors May cites as reasons for Huangbaiyu’s failure in green development.

William McDonough

Speech by William McDonough
McDonough spoke about sustainable architecture and product design at Vanderbilt University in September 2006.

TED Conference 2005: ‘The Wisdom of Designing Cradle to Cradle’
During his speech at the annual Technology Entertainment Design Conference (TED) in Monterey, California, McDonough discusses his green development plans for China in the last section.

Business 2.0: ‘Growing Green Buildings’
Magazine Business 2.0 credits McDonough with “making the boomtown environmentally friendly – from Google’s headquarters to China’s cities.”

Time: ‘The Man Who Wants Buildings to Love Kids’
McDonough was recognized as one of Time magazine’s “Heroes for the Planet” in 1999.

Time: William McDonough and Michael Braungart
In 2007, McDonough and Michael Braungart were recognized as “Heroes for the Environment.”

‘Thinking Big and Small: Designing the Next Industrial Revolution’
Timothy Lesle’s original interview with McDonough, done for the Sierra Club in 2005, prompted him to check back on the progress and development of this story.


Organizations and Corporations

The China-U.S. Center for Sustainable Development
As the lead partner in the Huangbaiyu village project, the China-U.S. Center for Sustainable Development is featured in this dispatch. William McDonough and Deng Nan lead this Portland, Oregon-based organization whose "goals are to use nature as a design model." The website includes a photo slideshow of the planning and construction of the Huangbaiyu housing development from 2002 to 2005.

William McDonough + Partners
The website for William McDonough’s design firm describes his "Cradle to Cradle" philosophy of sustainable development and details the firm's architectural projects in Europe and the United States and its plans in China's Jinan and Guangxi provinces.