Public involvement is critical in sustainable contaminated site management. It is important for China to improve public knowledge and participation, foster dialogue between urban managers and laypeople, and accelerate the remediation and redevelopment processes in contaminated site management. In this study, we collected 1812 questionnaires from nine cities around China through face-to-face interviews and statistically analyzed the perception of residents concerning contaminated sites. The results show that respondents’ concern about soil pollution was lower than for other environmental issues and their knowledge of soil contamination was limited. The risks posed by contaminated industrial sites were well recognized by respondents, but they were unsatisfied with the performance of local agencies regarding information disclosure, publicity and education and public participation. Respondents believed that local governments and polluters should take the primary responsibility for contaminated site remediation. Most of them were unwilling to pay for contaminated site remediation and preferred recreational or public service redevelopment. Moreover, our research indicated that public perception varied among different cities. This variation was mainly determined by implementations of policy instruments and additionally affected by remediation technology, pollutant type, regional policy response and living distance.
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