China has gone through a rapid process of urbanization, but this has come along with serious environmental problems. Therefore, it has started to develop various eco-cities, low-carbon cities, and other types of sustainable cities. The massive launch of these sustainable initiatives, as well as the higher cost of these projects, requires the Chinese government to invest large sums of money. What financial toolkits can be employed to fund this construction has become a critical issue. Against this backdrop, the authors have selected Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city (SSTEC) and Shenzhen International Low-Carbon City (ILCC) and compared how they finance their construction. Both are thus far considered to be successful cases. The results show that the two cases differ from each other in two key aspects. First, ILCC has developed a model with less financial and other supports from the Chinese central government and foreign governments than SSTEC, and, hence, may be more valuable as a source of inspiration for other similar projects for which political support at the national level is not always available. Second, by issuing bonds in the international capital market, SSTEC singles itself out among various sustainable initiatives in China, while planning the village area as a whole and the metro plus property model are distinct practices in ILCC. In the end, the authors present a generic financing model that considers not only economic returns but also social and environmental impacts to facilitate future initiatives to finance in more structural ways.

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ERIM Top-Core Articles
Sustainability (Switzerland)
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University

Zhan, C. (Changjie), de Jong, M. (Martin), & De Bruijn, H. (2018). Funding sustainable cities: A comparative study of Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City and Shenzhen International Low-Carbon City. Sustainability (Switzerland), 10(11). doi:10.3390/su10114256