The Bartlett School of Planning


Xiaoxuan Lan

Research subject

The Transformation of Urban Environmental Governance in China: a Case Study of Chongming Eco-island, Shanghai

Primary supervisor: Dr Fangzhu Zhang
Secondary supervisor: Professor Fulong Wu
Email: xiaoxuan.lan.16@ucl.ac.uk
Starting date: January 2018
Projected completion date: January 2022

Xiaoxuan Lan

In recent years, China has ubiquitously embraced an additional concern for environmental issues, which has resulted a proliferation of eco-planning initiatives. While a rich vein of literatures illustrated the amounting eco-city initiatives as another round of land-speculation encouraged by entrepreneurism local states, few studies have analysed the dynamics of eco-city initiatives, which is actually responding to the change of urban political ecological context. This research aims to contribute to the latter strand of research by situating the development of eco-city initiatives within the broader discussion of the environmental, land, financial and territorial aspects of urban governance. It refers to eco-city planning and implementations in Chongming, Shanghai, where the first eco-city project in China was proposed, abeyant and now reworked. It argues that eco-city initiatives are making important addition to the repertoire of ‘eco-state restructuring’ in China, where planners and officials wish to achieve more than short term economic benefits. This research explores the planning and implementation of eco-city initiatives within a multi-scaled socio-regulatory framework, and see how has ecological goals selectively incorporate and achieved in the planning and implementation process, and how were these actions correspond with the regulations and concerns of the central state. The promotion of eco-cities by planners and officials in Shanghai reflect an attempt to boost new industrial growth as well as to achieve environmental benefits in a longer term. This research calls for academics to think China’s urban sustainability as a dynamic process.


Xiaoxuan is a research student at the Bartlett School of Planning under the supervision of Dr Fangzhu Zhang and Prof Fulong Wu. Her research focuses on the changing environmental governance in urban china based on the theoretical framework of urban political ecology. Xiaoxuan got her master degree MRes Inter-disciplinary Urban Design from UCL on 2017, and her bachelor degrees BE Urban planning and BA Sociology form Peking University on 2016.