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From Berlin to Yangzhou : an enquiry into the transfer of Careful Urban Renewal and a Chinese city’s capacities to learn sustainability

Abstract : This research explores the dynamics and impacts of transfers of concepts of sustainable urban development (SUD) from Europe to China. This topic is of great interest since in recent years international partnerships for the development of eco-cities and of methods to improve the liveability of the existing cities flourished in this country. This study focuses in particular on an initiative of international cooperation concerning the city of Yangzhou in the early 2000s. This initiative aimed at promoting the transfer of the concept of “Careful Urban Renewal”, developed in Berlin in the early 1980s, to foster the sustainable conservation of the traditional quarters of Yangzhou. This study digs into the process of transfer and learning in Yangzhou to question whether a model established in a specific locality can be applied in another, and what is the contribution of international cooperation. It uses a research framework that focuses both on the outcomes of transfer and on its process. Relying on official documents analysis, on literature review and on semi-structured interviews, this study reveals that projects of international cooperation can make an important contribution to the transfer of models of SUD. It also reveals that the success of these initiatives depends very much on the capacities of the borrowing society to import and adapt foreign models. The case study of Yangzhou in particular reveals that this city has limited capacities to pursue the process of learning launched by the international collaboration. These limited capacities are ascribable, above all, to the political willingness of the city’s top decision-makers and to the institutional structure of the local government, making informal rules and hierarchical decisions prevail over the application of formal rules.
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Submitted on : Thursday, April 28, 2022 - 4:47:04 PM
Last modification on : Friday, April 29, 2022 - 3:35:53 AM


  • HAL Id : tel-03654574, version 1



Giulia Romano. From Berlin to Yangzhou : an enquiry into the transfer of Careful Urban Renewal and a Chinese city’s capacities to learn sustainability. Political science. Institut d'études politiques de Paris - Sciences Po, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017IEPP0038⟩. ⟨tel-03654574⟩



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