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Institutional Change in China’s Sustainable Urban Development

A Case Study on Urban Renewal and Water Environmental Management
Daniele Brombal and Angela Moriggi
p. 45-56


Over the past decade, the concept of sustainable development has gained increasing importance within China’s urban development. Urban(ising) China not only catalyses many of the country’ sustainability issues, but also constitutes the locus where novel institutional arrangements for sustainable development are tested and implemented. This paper explores new paradigms of integrated territorial management unfolding in areas where concerns of water pollution intersect with objectives of urban renewal. The analysis focuses on the case of the Lihu Lake basin, located in the city of Wuxi (Jiangsu Province), considered by many observers to be at the forefront in China’s quest for sustainable urban development. In Lihu the integration of environmental management with urban planning has led to the creation of a new organisational field, revolving around the issue of sustainable development of urban areas, with distinctive regulatory, normative, and cognitive aspects. While epitomising a case of integrated territorial management, the experience of Lihu Lake basin highlights the challenge of fostering inclusive social development in urban areas.

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Bibliographical reference

Daniele Brombal and Angela Moriggi, « Institutional Change in China’s Sustainable Urban Development », China Perspectives, 2017/1 | 2017, 45-56.

Electronic reference

Daniele Brombal and Angela Moriggi, « Institutional Change in China’s Sustainable Urban Development », China Perspectives [Online], 2017/1 | 2017, Online since 01 March 2018, connection on 20 June 2018. URL :

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About the authors

Daniele Brombal

Daniele Brombal is Assistant Professor at the Department of Asian and North African Studies, University Ca’ Foscari Venice.University Ca’ Foscari Venice, Department of Asian and North African Studies, Dorsoduro 3462, 30123 Venezia (

Angela Moriggi

Angela Moriggi is Researcher at the Economics and Society Unit, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke); Marie Curie ITN Fellow of the project SUSPLACE (Sustainable Place Shaping).Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Latokartanonkaari 9, 00790 Helsinki (

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