Tag Archives: ecocity

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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Striving towards ecocity: experience from Huainan

Xie, Pengfei (2013) Striving towards ecocity: experience from Huainan, China. Sustainable cities collective (28 October, 2013). Retrieved from http://sustainablecitiescollective.com/nature-cities/190911/striving-towards-ecocity-experience-huainan-china, 22 november 2013.

China’s rapid urbanization in the last 30 years has brought about many problems. The country is now facing a huge challenge to balance economic development with environmental conservation and social stability. Sustainable development is in the spotlight: how can we build a better city that can provide a better life for its citizens?

The ecocity seems to be one of the solutions. Since the concept of “Eco-Civilization” was advocated by China’s central government in 2007, local governments have responded actively to the appeal. By 2011, 90% of Chinese cities at the prefecture-level and above had proposed ambitious goals to build eco-cities (XIE and ZHOU, 2010). However, in China and throughout the world, the ecocity is still in its preliminary stage, without a mature theoretical basis and systematic exemplary practices. Local governments in China are encouraged to learn by exploring sustainable development models through ecocity construction.

Different people hold different opinions on the concept of an ecocity. By now, there has been no globally recognized definition for an ecocity. In China, a representative definition is: an Ecocity is a composite human settlement system combining balanced socio-economic development with healthy ecological objectives to achieve the harmonious coexistence of man and nature.

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Monique Abud

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

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