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Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5682-5704; doi:10.3390/su7055682

Scaling-up Strategy as an Appropriate Approach for Sustainable New Town Development? Lessons from Wujin, Changzhou, China

School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China
School of Geographical Sciences, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210023, China
Key Laboratory of Environment Change and Resources Use in Beibu Gulf (Ministry of Education) Nanning 530001, China
School of Science and the Environment, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester M1 5GD, UK
Department of Geography, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210023, China
Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Tan Yigitcanlar and Md. Kamruzzaman
Received: 19 December 2014 / Revised: 1 May 2015 / Accepted: 5 May 2015 / Published: 8 May 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planning, Development and Management of Sustainable Cities)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [7512 KB, uploaded 8 May 2015]   |  


China has achieved rapid urbanization and unprecedented economic booming over the past three decades. Numerous cities and towns dreamed of cloning the miracles of Shenzhen and Pudong, Shanghai, in terms of their international development. However, inappropriate development strategies have meant that the majority of fast expanding urban suburbs or newly developed towns suffer a high ratio of vacant dwellings in real estate markets and a massive loss of farmland. The frequent exposure of these empty cities to mass media or the public has urged urban governments to impose fiscal austerity. These unexpected and negative consequences of urban development have explicit conflicts with sustainability. This paper aims to provide a political economy view of these unsustainable outcomes of new development. To achieve this, the processes and agendas of new city or town planning in Wujin District, Changzhou City, are analyzed and evaluated from the perspective of scale theory. Extensive interviews conducted with local politicians at different levels, planners, real estate agents and local residents facilitate the interpretation of these processes and agendas. It is argued that the legends of Shenzhen and Pudong, Shanghai originate from a modified neoliberal capitalism intervention at the right time and place, with which other peer cities are not comparable. It is concluded that the scaling-up strategy is not appropriate for the local new town development of Wujin, which has led to unsustainable outcomes—empty cities and towns—and created important lessons for the sustainable development of Chinese cities. View Full-Text
Keywords: scaling-up strategy; sustainable development; local new town; neoliberal capitalism; Wujin; China scaling-up strategy; sustainable development; local new town; neoliberal capitalism; Wujin; China

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Chen, H.; Wu, Q.; Cheng, J.; Ma, Z.; Song, W. Scaling-up Strategy as an Appropriate Approach for Sustainable New Town Development? Lessons from Wujin, Changzhou, China. Sustainability 2015, 7, 5682-5704.

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