A Massive Urban Symbiosis: A Preliminary Review of the Urban Mining Pilot Base Programme in China

  • Yanyan Xue
  • Hans Bressers
  • Zongguo Wen
Part of the Greening of Industry Networks Studies book series (GINS, volume 6)


Waste recycling helps to establish a circular loop of resource flow between production and consumption, achieving a certain symbiosis between the industrial and urban sector. Since more and more resources are accumulated in the urban sector, urban mining as form of waste recycling in a massive way becomes an outstanding way to achieve industrial and urban symbiosis. In 2010 China initiated a national urban mining pilot base (UMPB) programme with the objective of developing the recycling industry and relieving environmental and resource constrains. This study aims to provide policy review of the programme. We find that the UMPB programme was developed from past circular economy policies and attains legacy assurance from current laws and national plans. But this did not formulate a perfect governance context for its implementation. A multi-ministerial cross-management network led to policy conflicts, and recycling-oriented legislation remained absent. These became the main barriers for the good implementation of those urban mining pilots. Comparing with the eco-town programme in Japan, it shows that both programmes share some similarities of partial policy objectives but also show variety in the scope of urban symbiosis due to the different problems they focus on and the slightly different policy objectives under the different economic and social development phases.


Urban mining Urban symbiosis China Recycling industry 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yanyan Xue
    • 1
  • Hans Bressers
    • 2
  • Zongguo Wen
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.School of EnvironmentTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.University of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Environmental Planning and ManagementTsinghua UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.Research Center of Circular Economy, School of EnvironmentTsinghua UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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