Two faces of an eco-city? Sustainability transition and territorial rescaling of a new town in Zhuhai

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)627-636
Journal / PublicationLand Use Policy
Online published24 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


China has been undergoing a boom of sustainable urban new town projects against the background of urban rescaling and regional integration. Most current research focuses on flagship projects and mega-cities, failing to disentangle the interactions between cross-scale actors and the dynamic patterns of institutional and social-techno innovations in rank-and-file cities. Applying sustainability transition theory and the Multi-level Perspective (MLP) framework, this paper takes Zhuhai's Western Central Eco New District (Town) as a case study to investigate the interactive relationships between various actors and institutional niches. Through intensive interviews with government officials, developers, professionals and local villagers, as well as an analysis of government planning and regulation archives, we argue that the interests of actors from different scales are split in the transition process and may pose a threat to the reconfiguration of the niche-regime dynamics. This may lead to a dilemma in the sustainability transition of new towns. Institutional fragmentation from lower scales might be another obstacle for the transition management and niche development of the eco new town.

Research Area(s)

  • Eco-city, Inter-scale dynamics, Multi-level perspective, Sustainability transition, Urban rescaling