“Ecologistics,” the continuous and sustainable development of Rugao’s port-city interface near Shanghai the world’s busiest cargo and container port cluster, promotes a regional port-city alliance for the area and integrates global logistics with local ecology. In this three part series, we will focus on the history and evolution of ports and the specifics of Rugao.

Rugao is a city in China’s Jiangsu province, located in the center of the Yangtze River Delta. Rugao is poised to become the new ship valley of the world. Currently a regional ship building center, the city is 120 km upstream of the ports in Shanghai, 28km from the port of Nantong, and across the river from the port of Zhangjiagang. With its strategic location and a new leading role in the global economy, the port of Rugao could attract a large complex of companies active in cargo handling, logistics services, maritime industry and manufacturing dependent on deep water access and all the companies that supply goods, materials and services to these industries.

The tension between Rugao’s agriculture tradition and the current industrial reality is the main challenge in the face of continuous and sustainable development of the port-city interface. Imperative to finding a solution is creating a local ecology that not only includes but balances this conflicting tension. This potential local ecology would integrate urban, natural and industrial processes to reduce, reuse and recycle materials and energy going through the port site. The result which would be a remarkable environment — a sustainable and symbiotic relationship where people will live, work and play.

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