Environmental Integration in China’s Eco-city Development—From an Institutional Perspective

  • Ying YinEmail author


In the last decade, Eco-City development has been emerging as test beds in China, not only for environmental technologies but also for a new integrated approach of urban planning to achieve better environmental performance in the urban areas development. The study aims to build knowledge, from legal aspects, on how environmental integration in sustainable urban planning is achieved or hindered in China’s eco-city practice. The lessons are as well supposed to give some implications for sustainable urban development in future. The study is based on an overview of China’s national institutional condition for sustainable urban development and a case study of two examples of Tangshan Bay Eco-city and the Sino-Swedish Low-Carbon Eco-City in China. Methods of literature review, document studies, study visits and interviews were applied for gathering relevant knowledge and collecting empirical data on the cases. To conclude, in spite of some progress, the absence of a holistic perspective and effective guidance and constraints in China’s environmental and planning formal rules at different levels appeared as an institutional weakness, hindering environmental integration in urban planning process. Whether or not environmental requirements and their status was clearly stated in the formal rules, such as regulatory detailed plans and land use agreements, also considerably affected the enforcement of environmental integration in urban planning process. In addition, the results indicate an important role of powerful actors, such as local leaders and governments, in issuing an improved legitimacy of high environmental requirements in sustainable urban development through changing formal institutional conditions.


Environmental integration Sustainable urban planning Eco-city development Legal aspects China 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Royal Institute of TechnologyStockholmSweden

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