Could do better: a report card for eco-cities in China

A new paper by Dr Chiara Luchino takes a quantitative look at the performance of various eco-city initiatives in China to date, finding that in many cases they are falling below expectations.

While the Chinese eco-city movement was based on ambitions of an unprecedented scale, this piece highlights how the resulting initiatives have struggled to reconcile a growing need for housing with definitions of sustainability in a wider sense. It scores and ranks fourteen eco-city initiatives using a number of indicators, finding that construction has often lagged behind schedule, urban morphology contributes to low liveability, and levels of air pollution are higher than expected. The work is based on doctoral research that Dr Luchino completed at the Department of Civil, Building and Environmental Engineering, Sapienza University of Rome.

This paper complements the preceding paper in the Reflections series, written by John Zacharias, which reviews the reasons for the abandonment of the Chinese eco-city movement, and looks at the more conventional means available to city leaders to retain sustainability objectives.

Read the paper (PDF).