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Critical research on eco-cities? A walk through the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City, China

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article numberN/A
Pages (from-to)10-17
Number of pages8
JournalCITIES
Volume36
Issue numberN/A
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014

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  • Caprotti_Cities_2014

    Caprotti_Cities_2014.docx, 138 KB, application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document

    5/02/2016

    Accepted author manuscript

King's Authors

Abstract

This article uses the narrative tool of a walk through Tianjin Eco-City, China, as an entry point in raising and discussing key questions in contemporary eco-city research. Eco-city projects are becoming increasingly prevalent in policy and political-economic discourses in a variety of locations as new urban spaces where blueprints for low carbon economies can be trialled. In light of this, the article highlights the key necessity of, firstly, considering scale when analyzing eco-city 'futures'. Secondly, the article argues for the need to interrogate eco-cities' definitions, as well as evaluation, performance and monitoring frameworks, as this will aid in critical analyses of the marketing, presentation and actually built urban environments in eco-city projects. Thirdly, the question of internal social resilience and the emergence of communities within newly-built eco-cities needs to be assessed: this is of crucial importance in light of the exclusive, gated nature of several flagship eco-city projects under construction at the time of writing. Lastly, the article argues that research on eco-city projects needs to consider not only the high-tech, new urban environments materialized as eco-cities, but also the production and reproduction of large, often transient populations of low-paid workers who build eco-cities and who form what the article calls the 'new urban poor', forming 'workers' cities' on the edges of flagship 'sustainable' urban projects worldwide. 

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