The role of international actors in low-carbon transitions of Shenzhen's International Low Carbon City in China

Ali Cheshmehzangi, Linjun Xie, May Tan-Mullins

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


This study looks into one of the most promising low carbon city planning initiatives in China, namely Shenzhen's International Low Carbon City (ILCC). First as a collaborative project between the Dutch and Chinese partners, the ILCC's international partners have expanded to include other countries, such as Germany, Italy, France, Australia and the US. This paper investigates the influence of these international actors in the development process of the ILCC and their benefits in the long run, through knowledge transfer and accumulation of resource. The paper first highlights a broad understanding of ‘low carbon city’ followed by detailed discussions on discourses of ‘low carbon city’ ‘eco-city’ and ‘low carbon eco-city’ in China. Then it provides insights on knowledge transfer in low carbon city development, and particularly the Sino-Foreign cases of China. The authors then introduce the case of study (ILCC) and highlight its visions, project planning, and partnerships. Using primary and secondary data, it then maps the ILCC's international actors and their roles, and then analyses their behaviours and impacts in the project's planning and development process. Next, the paper summarises the research findings with further updates on the case of ILCC. The authors conclude that the engagement between Chinese and international partners differ in three forms and they are (1) the type of involvement; (2) the level and timeframe of involvement; (3) the level of Influence in the project's multiple stages. The paper concludes that the role played by an international partner evolves as the project proceeds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-74
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


  • China
  • ILCC
  • International actors
  • Low carbon transition
  • Low-Carbon City
  • Shenzhen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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