Green as urban spectacle in China
ByXuefei Ren
Pages 9

This chapter examines the recent environmental turn in urban policymaking and addresses obstacles to and opportunities for sustainable urban living in China. Local officials have until recently tended to view economic growth and environmental protection as incompatible. The chapter critiques the green spectacle observed in urban China today and urges a return to the ordinary in urban environmental policymaking. Green initiatives in China since the mid-2000s should also be situated in the context of spectacular urbanism. The environmental turn in China's urban governance is also evident in the large number of policy innovations aimed at environmental protection initiated by both the central and local governments. The various green initiatives undertaken by the central and local governments in China are indicative of a new environmental emphasis in urban governance. As second- and third-tier cities compete for National Model City status, the top-tier cities with more political clout and financial resources have begun building flagship eco-city projects.