Tag Archives: eco-city

Eco-urbanism and the eco-city, or, denying the right to the city?

Caprotti, Federico. (2014) Eco-urbanism and the eco-city, or, denying the right to the city? Antipode : A Radical Journal of Geography. Pre-published online, March 3, 2014. DOI: 10.1111/anti.12087

This paper critically analyses the construction of eco-cities as technological fixes to concerns over climate change, Peak Oil, and other scenarios in the transition towards “green capitalism”. It argues for a critical engagement with new-build eco-city projects, first by highlighting the inequalities which mean that eco-cities will not benefit those who will be most impacted by climate change: the citizens of the world’s least wealthy states. Second, the paper investigates the foundation of eco-city projects on notions of crisis and scarcity. Third, there is a need to critically interrogate the mechanisms through which new eco-cities are built, including the land market, reclamation, dispossession and “green grabbing”. Lastly, a sustained focus is needed on the multiplication of workers’ geographies in and around these “emerald cities”, especially the ordinary urban spaces and lives of the temporary settlements housing the millions of workers who move from one new project to another.

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Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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A tale of two eco-cities: experimentation under hierarchy in Shanghai and Tianjin

Miao, Bo and Graeme Lang. (2014) A tale of two eco-cities: experimentation under hierarchy in Shanghai and Tianjin. Urban Policy and Research. Prepublished December, 3, 2014. DOI: 10.1080/08111146.2014.967390

Two ambitious ‘new city’ projects were launched in China during the past 15 years—the ‘Dongtan eco-city’ project in Shanghai and the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City project in Tianjin. Both have received much international publicity and attention. However, the Dongtan project has stalled, and will evidently not be revived, while the Tianjin project continues, albeit with more moderate goals. We analyse the two cases, using the concept of ‘experimentation under hierarchy’ to show why one project is proceeding, while the other has failed. The key factors were strong international inputs of expertise and funds in the Tianjin project, along with crucial support from the central government, both of which were lacking in the Dongtan project.

近15 年来,中国搞了两个宏大的“新城”计划,一个是上海东滩生态城,一个是中国与新加坡合资的天津生态城。这两项工程都在国际上造出了许多舆论,也得到许多关 注。然而,东滩项目半途而废,显然不会再度启动,目标比较温和的天津项目倒是一直在进行。本文用“科层制度下的实验”这一概念,分析这两个案例,说明为何 一个项目得以延续,另一个却以失败告终。我们认为关键因素是天津项目有强大的国际专家团队和国际资金投入,而且,关键是得到了中央政府的支持,而这些因素 东滩项目都没有。

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Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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China’s emerging eco-cities

Zhongjie Lin (2014), Constructing Utopias: China’s Emerging Eco-cities, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina. ARCC Conference Repository, 2014 .

Each year about 16 millions of China’s rural residents – equivalent to the total population of the Netherlands – are moving into cities. This trend has continued for nearly two decades in this “largest mass migration ever seen in human history” (David Harvey). Amid such dramatic demographic shift and the resulting construction boom are ambitious plans throughout China to create new towns to house swelling population and to sustain economic growth. A series of prototype eco-new towns have been proposed in this wave of mass urbanization. They are often conceived as exemplary piece of urbanism showcasing the latest design and environmental technologies in town building, and represent a new chapter in China’s continuing effort of organized urbanization as a strategy to address complex economic and environmental issues.

This paper studies three eco-new town projects, including Dongdan Eco-city, Binhai Eco-city, and Qingdao Eco-block. They were intended as “models” to showcase the best practice in planning and development and to provide duplicable experience for other cities in the country. The paper examines these eco-new towns through the lens of urbanism and utopianism, focusing on the relationship between place making and social development. These projects were either initiated by the governments or created by private organizations or joint ventures, demonstrating different strategies of developing eco-city and representing different political and economic agendas. However, they were all encountered some dilemmas due to the current land policies and prevalent patterns of urban development in China, which indicates more fundamental issues to tackle to move toward a sustainable society. Studying China’s emerging eco-city movement from design and policy perspectives, this paper contribute to the understanding of new patterns of urban growth in our globalized era, and shed a new light on the strategies of dealing with the current environmental crises.

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Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

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Low carbon eco-city: new approach for Chinese urbanisation

Li, Yu (2014). Low carbon eco-city: new approach for Chinese urbanisation. Habitat International, 44 (October), p. 102–110. Pre-published June, 6, 2014. DOI: 10.1016/j.habitatint.2014.05.004

Chinese urbanisation is occurring rapidly but faces great challenges due to its large population, the continuing level of rural–urban migration, the shortage of resources to support the present development and the urbanisation model. One result is that China is the world’s largest carbon emitter. The application of low carbon eco-city development should be contribute to the solution in addressing these challenges. This paper attempts to explore the low carbon eco-city initiatives in China. By analysing critically the problems which impact upon such an environmentally friendly development model, including government policy, social value and delivery mechanisms, this paper suggests that despite problems in implementing such a model, the low carbon eco-city model must be the mainstream approach to Chinese urbanisation and industrialisation.

 

Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Bilateral collaborations in Sino-foreign eco-cities

Chen, Xinting. (2012) Bilateral collaborations in Sino-foreign eco-cities : lessons for Sino-Dutch collaboration in Shenzhen international low-carbon town. Master thesis, Delft University of Technology, Delft.

The increasing concerns about global climate change and rising environmental pressures have prompted countries and cities to explore new sustainable development pattern. The concept of eco-city has been proposed as a potential sustainable urban solution. China as the most populous country in the world, is especially challenged by its rapid urbanization and environmental degradation, and has launched a number of eco-city initiatives in recent years. Among them many are eye-catching bilateral collaboration projects with the engagement of international partners. The growing trend of Sino-foreign eco-city initiatives give rise to the main research question of this study: “What is the role of bilateral collaborations in Chinese eco-city development?” This question is further divided into three sub-questions, among which the first sub-question intends to categorize previous Sino-foreign eco-city collaborations based on distinct features observed through an investigation on eight previous Sino-foreign eco-cities. The second sub-question focuses on the critical success factors influencing bilateral collaborations in Sino-foreign eco-cities at political/institutional, organizational, and individual levels. Finally based on the lesson drawings from previous experience, the study intends to answer the question of what a viable Sino-Dutch collaboration alternative could look like in Shenzhen International Low-carbon Town. Qualitative research methods including case study and comparison are used in the study. Case studies on eight selected Sino-foreign eco-cities present detailed empirical information and analysis systematically. Following the case studies, three types of bilateral collaborations in previous Sino-foreign eco-city projects were concluded: client-provider/designer type collaboration, intergovernmental agreement based collaboration, and JV-based collaboration under joint supervisory board. Based on the case studies, a framework of success factors influencing bilateral collaborations in Sino-foreign eco-cities is also established. With the lesson drawings from previous experience and specific analysis for Shenzhen International Low-carbon Town, two potentially viable Sino-Dutch collaboration alternatives including the cultivating and sufficing collaborations are proposed. Finally, some general findings across the cases are discussed and summarized in the paper. This study intends to fill in the literature gap in international bilateral collaborations in eco-city development by focusing on China’s experience. Besides, it also can contribute to the academic and professional community by making an inventory of existing Sino-foreign eco-city projects. The empirics and findings in this study can also shed light on the design of future bilateral collaborations in Chinese eco-city development with proper adaptations.

Download the thesis on the TU Delft institutional repository

 

 

Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Contesting urban sustainabilities in China

Pow, C.P. and Neo, Harvey. (2013) Seeing red over green: contesting urban sustainabilities in China. Urban Studies. Prepublished March, 14, 2013, DOI: 10.1177/0042098013478239

Abstract

The urban sustainability agenda is engaged at some levels with the two concepts of ecological modernisation and urban entrepreneurialism. While they share certain important commonalities (for example, the emphasis on what is normatively understood as ‘right’ policy-making), each has largely progressed on its own intellectual trajectory. It is suggested that the concepts of ecological modernisation and urban entrepreneurialism are crystallised and concretised in the idea(l) form of the ‘eco-city’ through the search for an ‘urban sustainability fix’ in urban China. Although the idea of constructing an ‘eco-city’ has been mooted since the 1980s, the concept remains somewhat elusive and controversial for a number of reasons. First, while its physical form and design appeal have often been promoted by urban planners, architects and government officials, the deeper normative tenets of building an eco-city are surprisingly ignored. Secondly, the lack of an ‘actually existing’ or successfully implemented eco-city project suggests the considerable amount of resistance and difficulties (in terms of planning, politics, economic costs, etc.) that the concept encounters in practice. To that end, the paper examines various green urban initiatives in reform China before focusing on the example of Shanghai’s Dongtan eco-city project (an entrepreneurial urban prestige-project jointly developed by the British and Chinese governments) to examine the challenges and contradictions of an urban sustainability fix in the guise of eco-city building in China.

Read the full article on SAGE Journals Online (restricted access)

  • Choo-Piew Pow, Department of Geography, National University of Singapore
  • Harvey Neo, Department of Geography, National University of Singapore

Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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A comparative study with Swedish and China’s eco-cities

Ying, Yin and Xiao, Xingfeng. (2012) A comparative study with Swedish and China’s eco-cities : from planning to implementation, taking the Hammarby Sjöstad, Sweden and Wuxi Sino-Swedish eco-city, China, as cases. Advanced Materials Research, 524-527, pp 2741-2750.

Abstract

This paper targets to improve understanding and explain influential factors of different planning and implementing process of two eco-cities, Hammarby Sjöstad, Sweden, and Sino-Swedish Low-carbon Eco-city, China. The study is approached by examining and comparing the two eco-cities in perspectives of plans formulation, policy and regulations foundation, planning management and implementing mechanisms. Lessons from Hammarby Sjöstad are that integrative planning and management, follow-up and evaluations of implementing results, and lifestyle transitions all need to be concerned, as well as environmental technologies. In Sino-Swedish low-carbon eco-city, lack of local technologies, supporting policies and regulations, inactive cross-sector cooperation and public participation are summarized as main obstacles. To approach these, efforts are made on formulating local regulations, government documents, and coordinating cross-sector cooperation, promoting mutual learning. Finally, concluding that, besides environmental technologies, the foundation of legislations, policies and environmental objectives, integrative approaches, public awareness are key areas need to be promoted for popularizing sustainability in China.

Article available on Scientific.Net (restricted access)

Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Beyond eco-city development to creating eco-districts out of existing areas: The argument for a Beijing eco-district

Chinese eco-cities can be seen as the largest experiment in urban sustainability ever, and the various pilot projects currently under way will provide many innovations in green technology and valid lessons on sustainable urban development. Given the scale and speed of urbanisation, however, these innovations will come too late for many cities and regions and a huge amount of unsustainable urban development will then have to be retrofitted. In the future it will be more critical to apply the eco-city lessons to the existing urban areas than to keep developing new urban areas, even if more sustainable. Quoting the author: “Eco-cities as isolated areas are the first step in developing urban sustainability, with the development of existing urban districts as eco-cities as the next logical step”. The article also explains the advantages of creating eco-districts and advances the vision of Beijing Core Area as an Eco-District.

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Luis Balula

Ph.D. Urban Planning and Public Policy (Rutgers University, New Jersey); M.Sc. Urban Affairs (Boston University); Architect (Technical University of Lisbon). Urban and regional planning consultant. Research fellow at Instituto de Ciencias Sociais – Universidade de Lisboa.

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