chapter  11
22 Pages

Environmental quality and sustainability

The environment is one of the key issues in China’s contemporary urbanization, urban development, and planning. Pan Yue, vice-minister of then China’s State Environmental Protection Administration (renamed as the Ministry of Environmental Protection in 2008), has warned: “[t]he [economic] miracle will end soon because the environment can no longer keep pace” (Economy 2007). Yet, paradoxically, China also is home to some of the most environmentally innovative urban planning in the world. Chinese cities have begun a remarkable range of efforts to mitigate the environmental impacts of rapid urbanization – from the introduction of hybrid buses to the imposition of stringent air quality standards for industries. Nonetheless, these efforts are offset by rapid increases in pollutiongenerating activities as the Chinese economy surges forward.