Durable policy facilitation of Sustainable Industrial Parks in China: A perspective of co-evolution of policy processes

Wenting Jiao, Frank Boons, Geert Teisman, Changhong Li

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For some time, China has engaged in durable governmental facilitation of the development of Sustainable Industrial Parks (SIPs). This has materialized through two policy programs: one stimulating Eco-industrial Parks (EIPs) and one advancing Circular Economy Industrial Parks (CEIPs). Given their overlapping objectives, we conceive of the interaction of these programs as a process of policy co-evolution, seeking to understand in what ways they have reinforced or dampened each other, and consequently, its effects on the diffusion of SIPs in China. Using event-based analytical approaches, we show that 1) each program constituted a selection environment for the other, indicating that co-evolution took place; 2) the orchestration from powerful actors in the Circular Economy policy led to the change of types of co-evolution from the interference and potential competitions to symbiosis that brought about similar diffusion patterns of CEIPs and EIPs; 3) co-evolution was especially evident in the earlier periods of the policy processes, when policy actors strived to create a fit with broader social and physical environment; and 4) along with the established primary adaptation and shifted policy goals toward effective policy outcomes, the co-evolutionary dynamics became less intensive; and the combination of these factors eventually produced wide diffusion of SIP concept in diverse types of industrial parks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-190
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Early online date26 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2018


  • China
  • Circular economy industrial parks
  • Co-evolution
  • Eco-industrial parks
  • Policy durability
  • Policy facilitation

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Sustainable Consumption Institute


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