This book examines the sustainability transition theory in the context of urbanization in China, tracing the development of eco and low-carbon cities. It examines how ideas on building eco-cities and low-carbon cities travel from nation to nation, how they are adopted in the Chinese administrative context and what role inter-scalar actors play in getting the ideas transferred, translated and operationalized on the ground.
Offering an overarching theoretical framework that incorporates all urban sustainability experiments in China, the book conducts a comprehensive analysis of the master plans of these new towns and summarizes the normative transition targets of sustainable urban experiments. It explores how they differ from each other and how they influence transition dynamics in practice. By examining four eco and low-carbon new towns deemed representative of current major approaches to sustainability transition management in China, the book provides a detailed depiction of generic transition management and explains the different transitional trajectories for each type of sustainable urban experiment. It demonstrates how subnational-level and city-level transitions mediate the national transition. Through a thorough inquiry into inter-scalar dynamics, institutional arrangements and techno-social innovations in sustainable urban experiments, the book links generalized transition rules and specific contexts to present a full view of the challenges, failures and territorial problems of eco and low-carbon new towns.
This book makes a novel contribution to the study of Chinese urbanization by revisiting issues and problems of contemporary urban China. The reflection on these urban issues will provide implications to policymakers, professionals and the common reader interested in the future sustainable urbanism in China.
Table of Contents
2 Theorizing sustainable urban transition 9
3 Research design and methodology 32
4 Eco-topia on the blueprint: normative and directive ends of eco and low-carbon new towns 52
5 “Stones of other hills may serve to polish the jade of this one (他山之石，可以攻玉)”: policy mobility and urban transition 66
6 Transitioning towards a low-carbon city: a case in Shenzhen 92
7 Two faces of an eco-city: sustainability transition of a newtown in Zhuhai 107
8 Transition dynamics in the eco and low-carbon new towns 125
9 Conclusion 135
Yang Fu is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Public Management, College of Management, Shenzhen University. His research interests are sustainable urbanization and sustainable transition, eco and low-carbon cities, policy mobility, global urban initiatives and urban policies. His research has a transdisciplinary focus covering policies, urban planning and geography; and aims to map the sustainability transition pathways for China’s urbanization.
Xiaoling Zhang is currently the Professor at the Department of Public Policy, City University of Hong Kong. Her research focuses on sustainability science and resource management, and political economics of environmental studies and energy studies. She also works upon dynamics in sustainable urbanization and the eco-city.