The making and remaking of ecological space in China: The political ecology of Chongming Eco-Island

Linjun Xie, Andrew Flynn, May Tan-Mullins, Ali Cheshmehzangi

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


This paper contributes to debates on urban sustainable development through a critical examination of current state-led and Ecological Modernization-guided eco-developments in China. Using Chongming Eco-Island as a case study, we critically evaluate the practices and effects of current development practices alongside ecological, economic, and social dimensions. Adopting an alternative analytical approach – political ecology, our analysis brings to the fore a host of stakeholders’ voices and knowledge (especially the often-marginalized grassroots), triangulated with archival research and on-site observation. Our findings show that the Eco-Island development with an Ecological Modernization bias generates unintended and adverse results for the local community and the environment. We argue that political ecology, as both a contesting perspective in sustainable development and as a critical analytical method in understanding society-environment relations, serves as an attractive alternative strategy for those seeking to analyze a more nature-focused, locally-relevant means to promote just planning for urban sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-102
Number of pages14
JournalPolitical Geography
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • Chongming Eco-Island
  • Eco-development
  • Ecological modernization
  • Political ecology
  • Urban sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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