Category Archives: Environment

Utilities networks and urban fabric in China: the quest for an environmentalization in the framework of an accelerated development

Thesis defense of Rémi Curien1: Services essentiels en réseaux et fabrique urbaine en Chine : la   quête d’une environnementalisation dans le cadre d’un développement accéléré – Enquêtes à Shanghai, Suzhou et Tianjin (Utilities networks and urban fabric in China: the quest for an environmentalization in the framework of an accelerated development – Field surveys in Shanghai, Suzhou and Tianjin)

Members of the Jury

  • Sabine Barles, Professor of urban planning, Université Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne, president of the thesis committee.
  • Catherine Chevauché, Deputy Director of Research, Innovation and Sustainable Development at Safege, Suez Environnement, examiner.
  • Olivier Coutard, CNRS Research Director, LATTS, supervisor.
  • François Gipouloux, CNRS Research Director, UMR 8173 Chine, Corée, Japon (EHESS), referee.
  • Dominique Lorrain, CNRS Research Director, LATTS, examiner.
  • Franck Scherrer, Professor of geography and urban planning, Université de Montréal, referee.
  • Zou Huan, Professor of architecture and urban planning, Tsinghua University, examiner.

Abstract

Environmentalising the country’s development without significantly changing the pace of economic and urban growth: such is the difficult challenge set since 2006 by the Chinese authorities to deal with the increasing pressure bearing on natural environment and major environmental damage caused by accelerated development. China is probably the only country in the world where a goal of energy and environmental sobriety in the provision of urban utilities (water, waste-water, electricity, gas, heating, waste management) is so vigorously sought in circular economy policies, more specifically in eco-industrial parks and eco-cities projects, in the context of a strong and extended economic and urban development. Based on an investigation conducted in Shanghai, Suzhou and Tianjin, three cities at the forefront of transformations in China, and combined with a study of the national framework and the overall situation in the country, the thesis aims to analyze the substance and the forms of the urban utilities’ environmentlisation implemented in China. Our research shows that the ambitious Chinese policies of urban utilities’ environmentalisation leads in the cities to a partial improvement in the environmental quality of their provision, while the horizon of sobriety and circular economy remains distant. The prevalence of the developmentalist urban fabric stands structurally in the way of the emergence of resources reuse-oriented alternative technical systems to conventional networks. The urban utilities’ environmentalisation path taken in the Chinese cities is too technocentric and too exogenous to urban planning for the environmentalisation and especially the quest for sobriety to be more substantial. Operationally, these findings encourage a greater integration of utilities’ provision issues in the planning and development of cities, both in China and beyond the Chinese context.

Date

November, 21, 2014, at 2:30 pm

Location

Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (Cité Descartes, 6-8 Avenue Blaise Pascal, 77455 Champs-sur-Marne, France) – Amphithéâtre Navier

If you wish to attend  this event, please contact Rémi Curien (remi.curien@enpc.fr).

  1. ENPC-CNRS-UPEM,  http://www.latts.fr/remi-curien []

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE – Nottingham Trent University)

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Fresh air for the APEC

For the APEC summit, Beijing authorities made their best to reduce pollution and improve the Capital’s image.

Barclay Bram Shoemaker (2014). China Pollution: Blue Skies Over Beijing. The Diplomat, November 10, 2014.

To clear the skies and allow Beijing a breath of fresh air, the government forced factories to close from November 1, a repeat of the closures ahead of the 2008 Olympics. It has forced cars off the road, and announced a holiday from November 7 to 12 for most government employees.

Article available here.

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE – Nottingham Trent University)

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Pathways toward zero-carbon electricity required for climate stabilization

Richard Audoly, Adrien Vogt-Schilb, Céline Guivarch,Pathways toward zero-carbon electricity required for climate stabilization, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 7075 2014. Full text : hal-01079837v1

Abstract

This paper covers three policy-relevant aspects of the carbon content of elec-tricity that are well established among integrated assessment models but under-discussed in the policy debate. First, climate stabilization at any level from 2 • C to 3 • C requires electricity to be almost carbon-free by the end of the century. As such, the question for policy makers is not whether to decarbonize electricity but when to do it. Second, decarbonization of electricity is still possible and required if some of the key zero-carbon technologies — such as nuclear power or carbon capture and storage — turn out to be unavailable. Third, progres-sive decarbonization of electricity is part of every country’s cost-effective means of contributing to climate stabilization. In addition, this paper provides cost-effective pathways of the carbon content of electricity — computed from the results of AMPERE, a recent integrated assessment model comparison study. These pathways may be used to benchmark existing decarbonization targets, such as those set by the European Energy Roadmap or the Clean Power Plan in the United States, or inform new policies in other countries. These pathways can also be used to assess the desirable uptake rates of electrification technolo-gies, such as electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, electric stoves and heat pumps, or industrial electric furnaces.

 

Jacqueline Nivard

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

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Development and evaluation of a food environment survey in three urban environments of Kunming

soupecanardJenna Hua, Edmund Seto, Yan Li and May C Wang, (2014) Development and canardsetlegumesevaluation of a food environment survey in three urban environments of Kunming, China, BMC Public Health 2014, 14:235  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-235

 Abstract

Given the rapid pace of urbanization and Westernization and the increasing prevalence of obesity, there is a need for research to better understand the influence of the built environment on overweight and obesity in world’s developing regions. Culturally-specific food environment survey instruments are important tools for studying changing food availability and pricing. Here, we present findings from an effort to develop and evaluate food environment survey instruments for use in a rapidly developing city in southwest China.

We developed two survey instruments (for stores and restaurants), each designed to be completed within 10 minutes. Two pairs of researchers surveyed a pre-selected 1-km stretch of street in each of three socio-demographically different neighborhoods to assess inter-rater reliability. Construct validity was assessed by comparing the food environments of the neighborhoods to cross-sectional height and weight data obtained on 575 adolescents in the corresponding regions of the city.

273 food establishments (163 restaurants and 110 stores) were surveyed. Sit-down, take-out, and fast food restaurants accounted for 40%, 21% and 19% of all restaurants surveyed. Tobacco and alcohol shops, convenience stores and supermarkets accounted for 25%, 12% and 11%, respectively, of all stores surveyed. We found a high percentage of agreement between teams (>75%) for all categorical variables with moderate kappa scores (0.4-0.6), and no statistically significant differences between teams for any of the continuous variables. More developed inner city neighborhoods had a higher number of fast food restaurants and convenience stores than surrounding neighborhoods. Adolescents who lived in the more developed inner neighborhoods also had a higher percentage of overweight, indicating well-founded construct validity. Depending on the cutoff used, 19% to 36% of male and 10% to 22% of female 16-year old adolescents were found to be overweight.

The prevalence of overweight Chinese adolescents, and the food environments they are exposed to, deserve immediate attention. To our knowledge, these are the first food environment surveys developed specifically to assess changing food availability, accessibility, and pricing in China. These instruments may be useful in future systematic longitudinal assessments of the changing food environment and its health impact in China.

Read the full text on Biodmed central

Photo credit: J. Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard

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

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What makes eco-transformation of industrial parks take off in China?

Chang Yu,  (2014), What makes eco-transformation of industrial parks take off in China? Journal of Industrial Ecology, DOI: 10.1111/jiec.12185 Restricted Access.

This article focuses on the effects of policy instruments for developing viable eco-industrial parks (EIPs) in China. We analyzed the root of China’s national EIP program and inventoried the general instruments available to local authorities to shape and promote eco-industrial development. Empirical research conducted in Tianjin Economic-technological Development Area and Dalian Development Area led to the activities and actions conducted by local authorities. A quantitative method, technique for order of preference by similarity to ideal solution, was adopted to reveal the effects of policy instruments for comparative analysis. We conclude that the planned EIP model is useful in the early stage of EIP development, and, subsequently, it should be combined with a facilitated model to achieve long-term goals for eco-transformation. To this end, the policy package of economic, regulatory, and voluntary instruments should be integrated and tailored in alignment with the local situation.

Read also

Chang Yu (2014), Eco-transformation of industrial parks in China, Dissertation. 1 doi:10.4233/uuid:f10443ff-78b9-4640-9d31-dbdf65f8e99

During the past three decades, China has achieved impressive economic development. However, the pollution and resource depletion that accompanied China’s rapid industrialization have led to severe environmental issues, such as ecosystem degradation, groundwater contamination and smog, which have turned into visible crises.

In China, industrial parks were initiated in the 1980s, aiming to attract foreign investment and to increase export. Most of these were manufacturing bases which lacked environmental planning or management. In these early stages, these parks were mainly dominated by manufacturing companies who process materials into products with low added-value. Local authorities sought sheer GDP growth without considering energy efficiency or environmental cost. While these industrial parks have immensely contributed to China’s GDP, the scale, intensity and arrangement of these industrial activities have jeopardized the ecological security and health of local communities. It is therefore imperative to transform China’s industrial parks and apply the principles of eco-industrial parks (EIPs).

This thesis aims to improve the understanding of the features of an EIP system and its mechanisms, in order to provide tailored policy intervention. Our central research question has been: How can industrial parks be eco-transformed in China? To answer this central research question, we have addressed a set of sub questions that have guided our theoretical and empirical research. These include: 1) How has the research on EIP evolved? 2) What elements are required to frame the analysis of EIP? 3) How can the key activities that influence changes of EIP system be structured? How can the process of the system development be tracked over time? 4) What policy instruments can stimulate the emergence of viable EIPs in China? How can the effects of policy instruments be evaluated? 5) What is the future of mature EIPs?

We first create a systemic and quantitative image of the evolution of this research field through bibliometric and network analysis. Furthermore, an analytical framework is established by the theoretical synthesis of EIP’s features from system and evolutionary perspectives, and the frameworks of institutional analysis. The framework allows analysts to structure empirical research and systematically analyze an EIP’s development, aiming at generating insights to diagnose current EIP policies or make new ones. Moreover, we conduct empirical research in three Chinese EIPs: Tianjin Economic-technological Development Area, Dalian Development Area, and Suzhou Industrial Park. We adopt several methods to evaluate the system performance steered by different policy instruments, which provides insights of the cause-and-effect mechanisms of EIP development. We believe that the lessons learned from these cases can demonstrate a profile of China’s EIP development.

Full text available on Deft Institutional Repository

  1. Chang Yu, Master of Science in Management, Harbin Institute of Technology, PHD Delft University of Technology []

Jacqueline Nivard

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

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Sustainable development in China, social and environmental challenges for the 21st century

asino doroFerro, N. (Ed.). (2014). Sviluppo sostenibile e Cina, le sfide sociali e ambientali del XXI secolo. Rome: L’Asino d’oro edizioni.

In this collective book published in Italian, authors question the concept and implementation of sustainable development in China.

A first part looks at the growing awareness of sustainable needs in the Chinese sociey. Then, several chapters are dedicated to the challenges posed by economic growth and urbanisation, including food safety.

The last part studies the possible role of entreprises in answering sustainable development needs in China.

Book excerpt (in Italian) avaiable here

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE – Nottingham Trent University)

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China-EU green cooperation

Etienne Reuter; Jing Men (2014), China-EU green cooperation , Singapore ; Hackensack, NJ : World Scientific, 2014.

This book offers a selection of views from Chinese and European experts and scholars on the most pressing environmental challenges — air quality, global warming, climate change, energy security, urbanisation — faced by Europe and China in 2013. The contributors also discuss possibilities of technical cooperation between the two sides on remedies for the domestic scene as well as contributions to international negotiations. These problems top the agenda of the new leadership in China and also feature prominently on the EU-China agenda for EU’s efforts to mitigate climate change.This book offers a selection of views from Chinese and European experts and scholars on the most pressing environmental challenges — air quality, global warming, climate change, energy security, urbanisation — faced by Europe and China in 2013.

Sample Chapter(s)

Foreword (41 KB)
Introduction (83 KB)
Chapter 1: EU-China Cooperation on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Mitigation Towards a Potential International Emission Trading Scheme (112 KB)

Contents:

Climate Change

  • EU–China Cooperation on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Mitigation Towards a Potential International Emission Trading Scheme (Beatriz Perez de las Heras)
  • Cooperation on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading in EU–China Climate Diplomacy (Katja Biedenkopf and Diarmuid Torney)
  • The European Union’s Structural Foreign Policy: A Case Study on the EU–China Aviation ETS Dispute (Yu Weiye)
  • Upholding the EU’s Climate Change Commitments (Men Jing and Veronika Orbetsova)
  • A Reporter’s Narrative: China’s Learning Curve on Climate Change (Fu Jing)

Low Carbon Economy

  • Low Carbon Policies and the Management of EU–China Trade Relations (Coraline Goron)
  • Restructuring China’s Thermal Power Generation: A Possible Mechanism for China’s CO2 Emission Mitigation (Li Jinshan, He Yinan and Hu Fengqiao)
  • EU–China Cooperation on Low Carbon Economy (Li Jun)
  • Unleashing the “Green Cat”? The Promotion of Renewable Energy in China — Lessons from the Solar Industry (Cora Jungbluth)

Urbanization and Quality of Life

  • Water Problems in China (He Nong)
  • Food Safety: A Challenge for EU–China Cooperation (Rodolphe de Borchgrave)
  • NGOs in the EU–China Environmental Diplomacy (Malte Philipp Kaeding and Heidi Ningkang Wang)
  • Financial Innovation in Sustainable Cities: A Suggestion for the EU and China? (Laurent Beduneau-Wang)
  • Hong Kong: An Extreme Case in Dense Urban Living (Christine Loh)
  • Sustainability-oriented Low-carbon Development of Shanghai (Guo Ru and Song Lilei)
  • The Green Urbanization: The Local Vision under the Globalization: A Comparative Analysis between French and Chinese Sustainable Policy and Approaches (Yu Wang-Vedrine)
  • EU–China Cooperation in Agriculture: An Example: The Trade in Apples (Lei Lei)

Concluding Thoughts

  • The Green Way Forward (Isabel Hilton)

Website : http://www.worldscientific.com/worldscibooks/10.1142/9001#t=aboutBook

Jacqueline Nivard

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

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Urbachina’s WP5 workshop at LSE

LSE2

Stephan Feuchwang, leader of Urbachina’s work package 5 “Urban development, traditions and modern lifestyles” organised a workshop at the London School of Economics and Political Science on 25 and 26 September. During the workshop, the researchers from this team (Zhang Hui, Luo Pan, Wang Xiaoxia, Jude Howell, Paula Morais, and Renate Krieg) shared their findings for discussion and comparison not only with each other, but also with our two scientific advisers who have vast research experience in urban life and planning in China, Dan Abramson and David Bray, and with a number of others who have conducted research on urban life and governance in China and other parts of the world, including Europe.

The task of this work package on ‘urban development, traditions and modern lifestyles’ has been to investigate how new municipal institutions interact with residents, who bring to their urban relocation ways of organising themselves and improvise new ones. The focal topics were urban government, self-government and social sustainability.

Field research was conducted between March 2012 and April 2014 in the four cities selected by the UrbaChina consortium: the two large cities of Shanghai and Chongqing, and the two medium sized cities of Kunming and Huangshan. It is the most extensive systematic research on urban communities, as well as the most recent to date. One of the main results has been the deconstruction of the very conception of community, as a policy concept and an instrument of governance.

Miguel Elosua

Spanish qualified lawyer; PhD in Chinese Law. UrbaChina Research Officer. Has lived in China since 2006.

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Chinese urban planning: environmentalising a hyper-functionalist machine?

Curien, Rémi. (2014) Chinese urban planning : environmentalising a hyper-functionalist machine? China Perspectives [Online], 2014/3. Connection on 16 September 2014. URL : http://chinaperspectives.revues.org/6528.

How should the considerable discrepancy between the concepts of sustainable urban development proclaimed by the Chinese authorities and the reality on the ground be understood? This article examines the urban planning procedures that currently hold sway in China. The building of new cities is based upon a generic method of hyper-productivist and functionalist planning, reflected as a pyramid structure that extends over the whole country and is embodied by urban zoning on a vast scale. This procedure, which has been in force for nearly 30 years, is not at present one that is called into question by Chinese decision-makers, and does not take environmental principles seriously into account. Conversely, all of the reasoning upon which urban development is based remains very far removed from environmental considerations. China is continuing down the road of accelerated development behind the wheel of a growing hyper-functionalist urban machine.

Read full text

Monique Abud

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

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Signal Tree

Travelling in China, you may see a particularly tall tree on a mountain or in a park; its colour is similar to other trees around it. But when you move and look closer and touch this tree, the texture does not feels like tree bark but a plastic surface. It is actually a signal tree, the telecom operators’ idea to preserve the natural landscape. So, signal towers are built in the shape of a tree. This is a construction unique to urban development in China.

signal tree

Image source:  gaomin.t.sohu.com

Chi-Han Ai

Ph.D. candidate of EHESS ( École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris) focusing on regional economic development in China and Taiwan.

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Back in the saddle !

Last week end, were held the Beijing International Cycle Expo and the 3rd Beijing Cycling Festival.

Riding a bike seems trendy again in China.

Visit the expo’s website here.

 

 

 

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE – Nottingham Trent University)

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A coal free Beijing?

Beijing to ban high-polluting fuels by 2020

by Zheng Jinran, China Daily, August 6, 2014

Beijing will ban the consumption of high-polluting fuels in downtown areas by 2020, the municipal environmental protection authority said. The Economic and Technological Development Zone in Yizhuang, Daxing district will be the first area with zero consumption of high-polluting fuels by the end of this year, according to a new plan for the ban on such fuels in the capital.

Full text available online

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE – Nottingham Trent University)

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Megacities of Asia

Collingridge, Vanessa (2014). Megacities of Asia, part I-III. South China Morning Post. Post Magazine. 15, 22, 29 June. Retrieved from: http://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/ (accessed 30 June 2014)

  • Megacities of Asia Part I: The rise and rise of the Asian megacity (and why ‘metacities’ are the next big thing)

Asia’s rapid urbanisation is changing the very shape and nature of what we think of as a city.

Read more at: http://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/article/1530748/larger-life-rise-and-rise-asian-megacity

  • Megacities of Asia Part II: Perils of the concrete jungle

Unprecedented levels of migration from rural areas have led to a host of logistical and environmental problems.

Read more at: Carticle/1536089/perils-concrete-jungle

  • Megacities of Asia Part III: The rise of the ‘Megaregion’

Urbanisation is changing the face of Asia but what’s next for the continent’s city dwellers?

Read more at: http://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/article/1540813/megacities-asia-part-iii-grey-areas

 

Monique Abud

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

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Organizing conservation and development in China

Zinda, J. A. (2013). Organizing conservation and development in china: Politics, institutions, biodiversity, and livelihoods. (Order No. 3591054, The University of Wisconsin – Madison). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, , 335. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1433306129?accountid=16266. (1433306129). Preview (format PDF)

Tourism is an increasingly central element of biodiversity conservation, transforming protected areas worldwide. Building on participant observation and interviews with a broad array of participants, extensive document analysis, and a household survey, this dissertation investigates the creation of national parks in China’s southwestern province of Yunnan and what it reveals about how actors contend to get their visions for tourism and conservation incorporated in protected area institutions as well as how those institutions influence conservation practices and rural livelihoods.

In the first half, I show how contention among state agencies with varied connections to extra-state actors has shaped Yunnan’s national parks. The Nature Conservancy’s limited ability to appeal to state bodies with leverage over protected areas constrained its effort to promote a new conservation model. Local governments have shifted from supporting community-centered tourism to consolidating high-volume attractions under state-affiliated companies. A case comparison of nine protected areas shows that local authorities channel the substantial revenues tourism yields toward funding government activities and maintaining scenic façades for tourists rather than intensive biodiversity conservation. Where strong conservation practices are adopted, it is due to intervention under central government priorities.

In the second half, I examine how national park institutions affect community residents. In Meili Snow Mountain National Park, community-centered tourism operations persist, while in Pudacuo National Park, residents have become park employees. Residents of each park express concerns about different issues, but they voice these concerns in similar terms, invoking moral economies of appropriate state action. I use household survey data and qualitative observations to examine the impacts of different forms of tourism participation on livelihoods and community dynamics. Different tourism activities’ demands for labor and inputs have stronger impacts than income on resource use. Not all community-based tourism is equal: income inequality is higher and cooperation less common where household entrepreneurship predominates, compared to communities where institutions equalize participation, whether under community management or as park employees. The consolidation of protected area tourism attractions brings challenges as park authorities attempt to manage residents, while its economic and environmental impacts have complex relationships with local economies and ecologies.

Jacqueline Nivard

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

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Germany’s renewables paradox: a warning sign for China

Overdorf, Jason. Germany’s renewables paradox a warning sign for China. Chinadialogue.net. 25 June, 2014. Retrieved 30 June, 2014, from: https://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/7085-Germany-s-renewables-paradox-a-warning-sign-for-China

From the hay field behind his house, Gunter Jurischka points out the solar panels glittering from the town’s rooftops and the towering wind turbines spinning lazily on the horizon.

Thanks to Germany’s now famous Energiewende (or “energy transition”) programme, this tiny village of 800 souls produces enough electricity to supply 15,000 households from wind, solar and biogas.

But in what should come as a warning signal to countries like China that are rapidly rolling out renewable energy projects, a ruling by the state government earlier this June promises to uproot these villagers. Proschim’s green dream will be bulldozed to make way for a 2,000-hectare, open-cast coal mine.

“We don’t have time for energy from the Middle Ages anymore,” said Jurischka, a weather-beaten former agronomist with piercing eyes and longish salt-and-pepper hair.

It’s beginning to look like he might be right.

Read full story on Chinadialogue

Monique Abud

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

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