Eco-cities have emerged as important sites for urban experiments on ecological modernization (EM). China has fully embraced this approach by building hundreds of high-profile eco-cities. This study investigated how the modernization of urban governance affects eco-cities and eco-experimentation, focusing on the relationship between the government and businesses. Our in-depth case study revealed the following: (1) the modernization of hierarchical governance to enhance financial prudence conflicts with the resource-demanding nature of eco-city projects; (2) building international collaborations through modernized network governance is crucial for Chinese EM; however, sustaining these collaborations remains a challenge; and (3) the modernization of urban governance, both vertically and horizontally, remains firmly situated within an authoritarian political framework. The pressure to pursue socioeconomic priorities as dictated by the central government forces local agencies to adopt conflicting strategies that undermine the quality and authenticity of the pursuit of EM via urban eco-experimentation.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Urban Studies
- ecological modernization
- modernization of urban governance
- urban eco-experimentation