Governing for Urban Low-Carbon Development in China: A Case Study of Hongqiao Business District, Shanghai

  • Bing Sun

Student thesis: Phd


China is the largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, and addressing this there have been widespread attempts to address climate change since 2000. In spite of many implementation studies, a fundamental understanding of how governance influences particular low-carbon activities on the ground in China needs to be strengthened. This is partly because academic debates about governance modes and conceptualisation in literature are mainly attuned to a Western context. These knowledge gaps in our understanding restrict the speed and process of scaling-up existing climate actions – an urgent research agenda. In addressing these knowledge gaps, this research considers multi-scales (with a focus on urban China) and provides new insights and empirical evidence into how climate governance is interpreted and arranged in China. Using a case study of Hongqiao Business District, it examines how low-carbon governance arrangements are operationalised and how governance modes work in developing and implementing particular low-carbon strategies. Building on previous work on governance typologies, this research develops a new analytical governance framework that is tailored to policy examination to China. National climate policies are systematically reviewed as part of contextualizing the case study, with particular consideration being given to the driving factors of those policies as well as the proliferation of local climate activities. This research also advances the Multi-Level Governance (MLG) framework upon the perspective of authority relations to conceptualize governance across levels and scales. The new analytical governance framework within the policy dimension is included in the conceptual framework, while concepts from the policy mobilities approach are also utilized. The case study of Hongqiao demonstrates that governance modes and forms (such as regulation, enabling, and provision) in promoting low-carbon development are best understood and can be critically examined through an MLG framework.
Date of Award31 Dec 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorMark Baker (Supervisor) & Graham Haughton (Supervisor)

Cite this