A Comparative Study of the Evolution of Greenbelts in London and Beijing

  • Mingfei MaEmail author
Part of the GeoJournal Library book series (GEJL, volume 122)


Urban greenbelt are considered a key instrument for preventing excessive urban expansion. This paper puts greenbelt configurations in the context of the entire metropolitan area and aims to understand the long-term implications of this type of urban land use control. In particular, we are interested in understanding the economic implications that arise from both the success and failure in implementing greenbelts, through a comparison of London and Beijing. This comparative study is expected to uncover the key differences in the approaches to urban expansion, greenbelt policies, and land use outcomes. We first investigate the ongoing debate regarding greenbelt policies and their role in managing urban expansion. Based on the theoretical framework, we outline the urban expansion history of London (from 1890 to 1940) and Beijing (from 1950 to 2000). A comparison from the perspective of land use-transport interactions follows revealing the differences in greenbelt policy designs which resulted in different policy performances. The analyses suggest that transportation-led development, self-contained new towns, and adaptive greenbelt configurations led to the success of London’s Greenbelt, whilst inadequate transportation links, isolated new towns, and rigid planning caused Beijing’s persistent difficulties. This study aims to contribute to new insights into Beijing’s future greenbelt design.


Green Space Urban Expansion Urban Fringe Rail Transit Metro Line 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ArchitectureUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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