Building environmentally friendly, liveable, healthy and energy efficient cities is becoming one of the top priorities of Chinese government´s commitment to improving its environmental and urban conditions. These challenges call for new measures as enabler for high transformative capacity to bring about sustainable urbanisation. This research explores innovative actions, involvement and cooperation of a multi-actor community to build integrative and smart neighbourhoods and cities on the ground in China.
Following theoretical considerations of Wolfram (2016) an analytical framework to assess the transformative capacities of cities has been derived. The framework has been empirically tested. City case studies in Europe and China have been conducted to identify innovative approaches for bridging the gap between the strategic planning of integrative and smart neighbourhoods and cities and its implementation in China.
Results of a cross case study analysis of Chinese and European city case studies show that across all case studies in China and Europe some transformative capacities measures are critical, for example: "Engagement of a diversity of actors and appropriate resources", "leadership and ownership by appropriate key actors" and "Continuity of actors cross multi-level governance/bodies". The case analysis shows that these were present across all cases, there is a difference in the way this capacities is expressed between Chinese and European cities and that it is always embodies the local context.
While European cities show a stronger tendency to organise and substantiate this diversity of actors in more horizontal way, Chinese cities express this diversity from a more vertically organised governance perspective. A similar observation can be made with the capacity measure of leadership and ownership which was also found to be critical across all cases. In European cities, this capacity measure manifests itself in a more decentralised way in which leadership and ownership becomes a more distributed phenomenon in smart city planning and implementation. In Chinese cities however, leadership and ownership are expressed in a more centralised and consolidated way.
The paper will conclude with reflections on the different approaches of China and Europe to build transformative capacities for integrative and smart cities.
Acknowledgement: The research is conducted within the HORIZON 2020 project "TRANSURBAN EU-CHINA" (770141), which aims supporting the transition towards urban sustainability through socially integrative cities.
|IST 2020 - 11th International Sustainability Transition conference
|18/08/20 → 21/08/20
- Former Research Field - Innovation Systems and Policy
- Former Research Field - Energy