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Title: A Critical Analysis of Environmental Governance in Urban China: A Case Study of Nanjing
Keywords: Environmental governance, Ecological modernization, State, Civil Society, Urban ecological planning, Nanjing
Issue Date: 15-Jul-2011
Citation: SHEN MENGER (2011-07-15). A Critical Analysis of Environmental Governance in Urban China: A Case Study of Nanjing. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: In the recent years, cities have emerged as the primary loci of interest in debates over issues on environmental governance. This thesis seeks to problematize the notion of environmental governance and ecological modernity in urban China from three dimensions. The first dimension is from a top-down environmental governance approach by the state, the second perspective is from bottom-up approach to environmental governance by the civil society, and finally the third looks at urban ecological planning as a form of environmental governance. In this thesis, the empirical analysis of Nanjing illustrates some difficulties faced by cities in urban China in carrying out environmental governance, including that of contested environmental governance regimes and limited citizen participation. In addition, it also examines two main contradictions present in the urban ecological planning process in Nanjing and how they have been (and can be) mediated both in Nanjing, and more broadly, in urban China as well. In short, this thesis is an attempt to reframe the prevailing critiques that privilege the state?s arbitrary role and expert?s technical role that often results in a dismal assessment of environmental governance. However, taking into account both the present day and historical context of China, this thesis offers a more nuanced explanation that recognizes that 1) the Chinese state/government will remain as the most crucial force in the environmental governance process for a long time to come and 2) the emerging and mediating role of `experts? in urban (eco-) planning process which is crucial in promoting sound environmental governance and resolving present-day China?s environmental crises. Theoretically, this thesis marries ecological modernization theory and governance theory and demonstrates that there is no pre-formulated trajectory for cities to realize good environmental governance and accelerate the progress of ecological modernization. Although the pathway that China is currently treading on has many problematic issues that are perhaps unique to the Chinese state, its prospects remain promising provided that the Chinese government acts immediately to seek more viable and effective approaches to tackle existing environmental governance issues in urban China.
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Open)

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