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Analysis of sustainable urban development approaches in China
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Industrial Ecology.
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Industrial Ecology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9616-635X
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Industrial Ecology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0297-598X
2014 (English)In: Habitat International, ISSN 0197-3975, E-ISSN 1873-5428, Vol. 41, 24-32 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

China already has more numerous and larger cities than ever before. If the current trend holds, by 2025 it will have a predicted 1 billion of urban population and 8 megacities, each containing 10 million residents or more. China is facing enormous challenges when it comes to balancing rapid economic development with social development, sustainable use of resources and environmental protection in its fast-growing urban areas. Of the 10 most polluted cities in the world, 7 are in China. To meet these challenges, China has become a vast living laboratory for experiments on sustainable urban development. This paper reviews the use and development of city concepts and approaches regarding sustainable urban development in China. The large number of different concepts used appears to be partly due to institutional reasons and partly because they involve gradual changes in national policies. However, the data indicate that the concepts are generally becoming more comprehensive in relation to sustainable development, including social and heritage aspects. The most common barrier to the development of sustainable cities in China is still lack of clear visions, targets and indicators for sustainable development. More holistic approaches are needed for integrated urban planning, such as that used in Tangshan Bay Eco-city, a joint project between Sweden and China. This paper proposes the use of metabolic thinking and eco-cycle models derived from the discipline of Industrial Ecology to support urban planners in developing more sustainable and resource-efficient urban pathways. This will require closer cooperation between academics and practitioners and better monitoring of projects. Finally, it will be important to identify ways to scale up successful interventions in the urban area, rather than just moving from one innovative pilot project to the next.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 41, 24-32 p.
Keyword [en]
Sustainable urban development, China, Eco-city, Low-carbon city, Eco-cycle model
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-143736DOI: 10.1016/j.habitatint.2013.06.005ISI: 000331595100004Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84880605001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-143736DiVA: diva2:708341
Note

QC 20140327

Available from: 2014-03-27 Created: 2014-03-27 Last updated: 2018-01-11Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Low-Carbon City Initiatives in China: Planning Approaches, Dilemmas and Opportunities
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Low-Carbon City Initiatives in China: Planning Approaches, Dilemmas and Opportunities
2015 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In order to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, tackle climate change and move toward sustainable development, the central government in China has proposed low-carbon city development as the national strategy and relevant initiatives have been taken by local governments. This thesis analyses current low-carbon city programmes and planning approaches in China, identifies limitations and proposes a metabolic approach that could be used to account for physical resources, monitor GHG emissions and involve stakeholders in the planning process.

There are currently two parallel programmes for low-carbon initiatives in China: the “Low-Carbon City” programme and the “Low-Carbon Eco-City” programme. Around thirty cities in the Coastal, Central and Western regions of China have been selected as the national pilot areas for these programmes. This widespread distribution marks a change the previous priority set on development in the Coastal region, meaning that more cities have opportunities to explore low-carbon pathways and obtain support from the state. The large number of cities involved shows China’s determination to transition to low-carbon development in different city contexts. The selected cities have set up local administrative groups to manage low-carbon development and have established integrated approaches to reduce GHG emissions from urban sectors such as energy, transportation, buildings and waste. Some plans have been developed by the cities themselves, while others have involved international cooperation. However, because of limited knowledge on low-carbon city development, an absence of established standards and procedures and the Chinese top-down planning system, low-carbon planning faces specific challenges, such as lack of information about GHG flows, GHG monitoring and stakeholder involvement.

To overcome these challenges and improve low-carbon city approaches in China, this thesis proposes a holistic approach to low-carbon city development, by integrating Industrial Ecology into urban planning. Such work would benefit greatly from adopting a metabolic approach, within which a metabolic approach-based standard is used to understand low-carbon city from GHG flows; a DPSIR framework is used to address root causes of GHG emissions; and an Eco-Cycle Model is used to describe urban metabolism and account for physical resources, monitor GHG emissions and involve stakeholders in the planning process.

The thesis also recommends better collaboration between relevant government departments and stakeholders. Moreover, instead of simply transferring approaches developed elsewhere, international cooperation needs to combine the local context and knowledge in China with international knowledge and experience. In return, experiences from China can help improve low-carbon city approaches in other parts of the world.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2015. vi, 43 p.
Series
TRITA-IM-LIC, 2015:01
Keyword
Low-carbon city; Urban planning; Metabolic approach
National Category
Other Civil Engineering
Research subject
Industrial Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-174076 (URN)978-91-7595-693-0 (ISBN)
Presentation
2015-10-20, E2, Lindstedtsvägen 3, KTH, Stockholm, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20150929

Available from: 2015-09-29 Created: 2015-09-29 Last updated: 2015-09-29Bibliographically approved

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Zhou, Guanghong

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