The Center seeks and supports enterprise that can contribute to setting standards for sustainable development – pointing the way to a sustaining future. We view enterprise as pilot projects, collaborations and business initiative that have the potential to demonstrate how commerce, communities and nature can thrive in harmony. An enterprise aims to build awareness, develop skills and demonstrate technologies, standards and practices for broader adoption. Enterprise creation seeks to chart a positive, hopeful course for human endeavor that draws upon the innovation of business, government, universities and non-governmental organizations. The criteria for a concept or opportunity to be adopted as an enterprise are:

  • There is a fit with the mission and principles of the Center.
  • Measurable results are planned.
  • The enterprise is supported by key stakeholders.
  • An enterprise fund is or can be established for the Center’s participation

We invite you to contact us if you have a proposal for a new enterprise or if you wish to contribute to an existing one.

Highlight: Design Workshop for a Village School

A Design Workshop for a rural village school sponsored by the Center and organized by Board Member Tongji University was convened in August 2007. The purpose of the workshop was to support international collaboration to incorporate sustainable design strategies into a prototype rural school for China, using Huangbaiyu, Nanfen District, Liaoning Province as a representative site.

The goal was to develop a conceptual design for a multi functional elementary school that is family friendly, climate and ecologically intelligent, cost effective and provides an opportunity for a quality education. The design approach, concepts, ecological strategies and construction guidelines from the workshop sought to support other sustainable rural school designs in China. The event provided an opportunity for Chinese and U.S. architecture students, faculty and practitioners to collaboratively develop conceptual designs for a new rural village school in China, including onsite planning and design work.


Architecture students and faculty from Tsinghua University in Beijing, Tongji University in Shanghai, the University of Virginia and University of Oregon participated in the workshop. As part of the workshop, five teams were formed with two Chinese and one US student on each team – five from Tongji and Tsinghua, three students from the University of Virginia and two from the University of Oregon.

The workshop began with site visits to the village and the surrounding area of Huangbaiyu, a twenty-seven hour train ride to Shanghai – a traveling design studio – the formal design studio at Tongji University in Shanghai and the judging of the design competition before the closing of the workshop.

The funding for the workshop was generously provided by the Heinz Family Philanthropies and BP China with deep technical support from Autodesk, Inc. – all Board Members of the Center.

We invite you to contact the U.S. Secretariat if you would like to support an existing enterprise or have a proposal for a new initiative.

Highlight: Sustainable New Town Development

In 2003, the Joint Board of Councilors for the Center prioritized the development of concept designs for new urban townships (“new towns”) to influence their future sustainable build out.

China is in the midst of the greatest urban migration in human history. The population of China’s cities and new towns will increase by 350-400 million people in the coming two and a half decades. The design and development pattern of these new towns and their use of materials, energy and water as well as their impacts on farmland, habitat and the quality of the environment will have a profound impact on the future of China and the entire planet.

The China Real Estate Chamber of Commerce was designated as the coordinator in China to facilitate the master planning process. Six master plans were prepared in the initial phase by international design teams. The experiences gained from these projects have demonstrated both the opportunity and the many challenges of translating sustainable principles into action.

The concept designs for the new towns:

  • Maximize social engagement and community
  • Treat water as a precious resource;
  • Restore habitat and biodiversity;
  • Effectively leverage the scarce land available for development;
  • Promote alternative technologies through the economy of scale available in China;
  • Create an urban structure that promotes walking and healthy activities;
  • Improve the quality of storm water leaving the site;
  • Use biological resources to build and restore soil quality;
  • Optimize the use of the sun and wind as primary fuel sources; and
  • Respect the qualities of the land in each unique place.

China’s new policies recognize that developing a xiaokang – moderately prosperous – society by 2020 can only be achieved by modifying its pattern of urban and economic development.