Cities, aware of their environmental challenges, have introduced policies and programs to deal with issues like climate change and pollution. They want to become more ecological which would secure them the label of ‘eco-city’. Policies found in such cases are: closing the water cycle to lose no water; stimulating energy savings and reducing the greenhouse gas emissions; reducing waste and putting in place integrated waste management; developing integrated transport policies, etc. It is a challenge to achieve these goals with stakeholders in the framework of urban management, defined as implementing urban plans. Efforts to create eco-cities in China will be analyzed in this paper to determine to what extent they have contributed to the development of livable, productive and inclusive cities. What were the key urban policies that contributed to their success and which lessons can be drawn from successful examples of eco-cities or neighborhoods that can inform rapidly urbanizing cities in developing countries on how to achieve sustainability? Evidence collected from eight Chinese eco-cities using different indicators is used to determine to what extent these cities are examples of a sectoral or an eco2cities approach.1 The analysis shows that the approach of Chinese cities is often not based on a strategic vision at the city level but involves activities at the neighborhood, building or household level. In practice the focus of aspiring eco-cities is often on one or two sectoral issues instead, such as energy saving, dealing differently with the water cycle, or pollution abatement.

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ISS Staff Group 3: Human Resources and Local Development
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

van Dijk, M.P. (2012). Chinese eco-cities, an integrated sectoral approach or an eco-cities approach?. ISS Staff Group 3: Human Resources and Local Development. Retrieved from