TROPICAL GEOGRAPHY ›› 2018, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (4): 451-457.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003056

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Soft Planning for the Urban Future of China in the 21st Century: Building an Ecological Civilization

Terry McGee   

  1. (Department of Geography,University of British Colombia,Vancouver,Canada)
  • Online:2018-07-05 Published:2018-07-05

Abstract: This paper is intended as an “idea” piece to stimulate discussion on the main challenges faced in China’s ongoing task of developing increased participation in global trade and investment. It discusses the present state of knowledge concerning urbanization, the role of the tension between urbanization and sustainable development in China’s national development strategies and the challenges facing China in the 21st century. This paper suggests that China should pay attention to the construction of theories based on local development experience and formulate its own urbanization path in light of the region-based knowledge. Specifically, China should draw attention to the balance of economic growth and sustainable development. China should mobilize and make full use of ecological capital to promote the development of an ecological civilization. Soft planning, which puts an emphasis on the deployment of soft capital such as ecological capital, should be developed to play a more important role in future planning system. For this, work should be done to promote institutional reform and administrative restructuring and to enhance the cooperation between public sectors, private sectors and civil society. Lastly, it is argued that the Extended Urban Region (EUR) as the main territory of urbanization can play more important roles in the development of an ecological civilization. China needs to develop a sustainable, livable and economically vital institutional framework to facilitate the international trade and outward investment proposed in the “One Belt One Road” international cooperative initiative.

Key words: urbanization, ecological civilization, ecological capital, sustainable development, soft planning, extended urban regions