Eco-city Planning

Chinese eco-city planning beyond the ‘sustainability fix’?

British Academy project (2017-2019). Dr. Fangzhu Zhang (PI), Professor Fulong Wu (Co-I)

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Wuxi Taihu Eco-city, photo by Fulong Wu

China has recently seen a proliferation of eco-cities. Their contribution to a sustainability agenda has been questioned due to their use of ecology as a branding tactic and the lack of social considerations. However, with increasing environmental concern and pressure for carbon control, is it possible for Chinese eco-cities to go beyond the ‘sustainability fix’? This research will examine Chinese eco-city planning through investigating two under-studied cases: Wuxi Taihu New Town and Chongming Eco-Island at Shanghai. The research will examine planning models and practices, low-carbon technologies, economic transition, and opportunities brought by eco-city planning to low-carbon transition. The research will provide a more nuanced understanding of Chinese environmental governance in general and eco-city planning specifically, and will contribute to the conceptual advancement of the sustainability fix by distinguishing an entrepreneurial use of nature and substantial low-carbon innovations.