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Urban entrepreneurialism and sustainable development: a comparative analysis of Chinese eco-developments

Xie, Linjun, Cheshmehzangi, Ali, Tan-Mullins, May, Flynn, Andrew ORCID: and Heath, Tim 2020. Urban entrepreneurialism and sustainable development: a comparative analysis of Chinese eco-developments. Journal of Urban Technology 27 (1) , pp. 3-26. 10.1080/10630732.2019.1680940

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In recent years, state entrepreneurialism and the notion of (urban) sustainability have become ever more closely intertwined in China and there has been a proliferation of eco-/low-carbon and other similar sustainability-themed urban initiatives that have helped local states to achieve a favorable position in city competitions. Nevertheless, existing studies do not explain why Chinese sustainability projects are planned/implemented with divergent emphases and different development trajectories. Through three Chinese flagship projects, the real-estate-centric Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City (SSTEC), the environmental-construction-led Chongming Eco-Islands (CEIs), and the industrial development-focused Shenzhen International Low-Carbon City (ILCC), we argue that the formulation and implementation of urban sustainable developments are subject to local particularities and different extra-local political-economic contexts. We highlight how both vertical administrative governance and horizontal coordination between territorial jurisdictions underlie the Chinese entrepreneurial planning system, which results in different types of urban entrepreneurships: (1) scalable startup urban entrepreneurship (SSTEC); (2) asset-replacement urban entrepreneurship (CEIs); and (3) urban expansion entrepreneurship (ILCC). This study also reveals that all three cases experience a development paradox as they strive to reconcile mutually competing economic and environmental imperatives.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1063-0732
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 11 September 2019
Date of Acceptance: 31 August 2019
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2022 22:49

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