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.
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