Critical research on Chinese eco-cities seminar

Please join us on Wednesday 1 April (5-7pm) for a seminar in which Dr Federico Caprotti (King’s College London) and Professor Simon Joss (University of Westminster) will talk on ‘Critical Research on Chinese Eco-cities: A Walk through Tianjin and Caofeidian Eco-Cities’.

Venue: Westminster Forum (5th floor, 32-38 Wells Street, London W1T 3UW). See map

Over the last decade, China has embarked on an ambitious programme of developing variously labelled ‘eco-city’, ‘low carbon city’, and ‘smart city’ projects. According to the World Bank, some one hundred eco-city initiatives are currently under way, while a survey by the Chinese Society for Urban Studies puts the number at above 250. These numerous projects take different shapes and forms, from the retrofitting of existing towns to the construction of brand new cities, united under the overarching policy of the ‘green economy’ (also ‘circular economy’, and ‘green modernisation’) at the centre of China’s recent five-year plans. However, the discourse on eco-cities in China – as well as reflected more widely across global regions – is often characterised by a lack of critical, probing engagement: this can be seen at the level of normative-conceptual discourse as well as empirical assessment concerning real-life developments. In response, in this joint paper, Federico Caprotti and Simon Joss each offer their own critical reading of the contemporary Chinese eco-city phenomenon. Caprotti reflects on Tianjin Eco-city (Tianjin), arguably China’s most high-profile eco-city project to date, using the narrative tool of a walk through the city, while Joss mobilises the analytical perspective of ‘techno-city’ to discuss the fledgling Caofeidian International Eco-city initiative in Hebei province.

The event is free of charge and open to the public, forming part of the Spring 2015 programme of seminars being organised by the University of Westminster’s Contemporary China Centre.

Biographies

Federico Caprotti is Senior Lecturer in Cities & Sustainability at King’s College London; he is Principal Investigator and co-ordinator of a new multi-national research programme on ‘Smart eco-cities for a green economy: a comparative study of Europe and China’ (2015-2018, co-funded by ESRC, ANR, DFG, NSFC, NOW); and his most recent book Eco-cities and the Transition to a Low Carbon Economy is published by Palgrave Macmillan (2014).

Simon Joss is Professor of Science & Technology Studies at the University of Westminster and co-director of the International Eco-Cities Initiative. He is co-ordinator of the Leverhulme international research network ‘Tomorrow’s city today’ (with involvement of Fudan University); his book Sustainable Cities: Governing for Urban Innovation is published in spring 2015 (Palgrave Macmillan).