Water and land: Environmental governance and Chinese eco-development

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

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


Eco-city development has emerged as a key urban form. As one of the active advocates as well as a vigorous promoter of eco-developments, China has initiated and implemented a vast number of eco-projects in a variety of geographical locations and with diverse scales. Despite claims to integrate economic with social and environmental objectives, research on eco-city practices suggest that mainstream eco-developments promote, first and foremost, economic growth, and largely ignore issues such as environmental well-being and social equity. There is a pressing need to better understand why the environment is being so marginalized in so-called eco-developments and what the implications of that might be for environmental quality. To investigate these issues, we adopt a political ecology perspective as this enables us to focus on local insights into resource use and access to resources. By doing so we can point to ways in which resource efficiency fluctuates over time. We select Chongming Island as our case study because of its central role in eco-development in China. Indeed, the Island is of global significance and gained global repute because it was the proposed site of the world's first dedicated eco-city. We draw upon detailed fieldwork, including reports, planning documents, key person interviews and discussions with residents to analyse how local people perceive proposals for eco-development on their Island and how ongoing state management of the Island may have unintended adverse consequences for environmental quality, especially for water and land.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)839-853
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Environmental Science
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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