Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 496356
Title Wasted cities in urbanizing China
Author(s) He, Guizhen; Mol, A.P.J.; Lu, Yonglong
Source Environmental Development (2016). - ISSN 2211-4645 - p. 2 - 13.
Department(s) Environmental Policy
Raad van Bestuur
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2016
Keyword(s) China - Environmental impacts - Urban planning - Urbanization - Wasted cities

Urbanization is a characteristic of the 21st century, especially in countries with developing economies and a large amount of rural-to-urban migration. In China, the emergence of "wasted cities and towns" has paralleled urban expansion; large newly built areas that remain unpopulated and have created significant economic and social costs. We conducted a systematic investigation into the prevalence and geographical distribution of these "wasted cities and towns" through an analysis of spatially-detailed data from 1992 to 2014, and by estimating the environmental impacts of these "wasted" cities using available data in mainland China. Between 2008 and 2012, at least 28 ghost cities/towns were documented within 16 provinces, with severe effects on land use and the ecosystem, creating a waste of resources and energy. These cities contributed to poor air quality and climate change, and created unneeded construction and demolition waste. To prevent a further increase in wasted cities, and to turn existing ones into sustainable cities, China has to dramatically change its urbanization and housing policies in tandem with strengthening environmental policies, while taking long-term prevention and short-term execution strategies. Knowing how to manage the phenomenon of "wasted cities" in China is not just an environmental question, but also has strong effects on urbanization and sustainability. Developing reasonable management plans may establish an example for developing countries, and emerging economies in particular. The sustainability of urbanization might be affected if the problems identified here are not resolved. China's experiences with the environmental challenges of urbanization may provide valuable lessons for other emerging economies if the measures recommended here are implemented successfully.

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