International Development Planning Review

Evaluating the challenges of eco-city development in China: a comparison of Tianjin and Dongtan eco-cities

International Development Planning Review (2019), 41, (2), 215–242.

Abstract

Patterns of sustainable development have varied dramatically in the last five decades in China with a growing relevance of investments in ‘eco-cities’ being embedded within this discourse by politicians, planning professionals and academics (Qiu, 2009; Li, X., 2012; Li, H. L., 2012). However, the current status of eco-city programmes in China remains dynamic after ten years of development. This article critically examines the development of eco-city programmes in China through an evaluation of the lessons and challenges experienced. The Tianjin eco-city and Dongtan eco-city developments are used in the article to synthesise the present gaps with respect to political, economic, socio-cultural and environmental dimensions of eco-city programmes. Furthermore, it highlights the barriers to collaboration and communication within China, which are constraining the process of consultation with public and private stakeholders, plan-making and implementation. The article concludes with a discussion of how these issues influence the delivery of the eco-city programme and their impact on the future development of the programme.

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