Eco-cities as urban laboratories of Chinese ecological modernization: eco-experimentation and the modernization of urban governance

Minsi Liu, Kevin Lo*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2037-2061
    Number of pages25
    JournalUrban Geography
    Volume44
    Issue number9
    Early online date26 Oct 2022
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Geography, Planning and Development
    • Urban Studies

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Eco-cities
    • ecological modernization
    • modernization of urban governance
    • urban eco-experimentation

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