A number of ecological initiatives have received support from the Chinese government. They range from alternative building methods (emphasizing the need to insulate the house better) to using alternative ways of dealing with drinking water and sanitation. The question considered in this chapter is, to what extent these disjointed initiatives also contribute to building the much-needed ecological city of the future. Ecological initiatives can be undertaken at three levels – city level, neighbourhood level and individual initiatives – spontaneously, triggered by incentives or price increases. This chapter will first review the reasons behind the concern about more ecological cities (ecocities). Subsequently, we introduce the approach of the Switch project, which embodies an increased ecological attitude towards water and environmental issues.2 This will also mean a discussion about sustainability and following an integrated approach to the problems mentioned. Kenworthy (2006) mentions ten dimensions for sustainable city development in the developing world. They will be presented as a possible analytical framework to decide whether certain initiatives qualify for the ecological city label. An overview of how China deals with these issues will be given. Examples of some Chinese ecocity and ecoprovince initiatives will be studied, before formulating some conclusions. The question will be asked whether China is heading, with ecological cities, only for more ecological urban water systems or for a very different, more integrated approach to a number of related environmental issues.

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Edward Elgar: Cheltenham / Aldershot, UK/ Northampton, MA, USA
Erasmus School of Economics

van Dijk, M. P. (2009). Ecological Cities, Illustrated by Chinese Examples. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/19592