Chapter 1: China’s urban environmental governance
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This introductory chapter explains China’s recent turn to strengthened environmentalism and discusses the features of environmental governance. The chapter introduces the framework of this handbook, stressing the need to interrogate environmental governance at the urban level. Beyond environmental policies, the handbook examines environmental practices from the perspective of the interactions between the state, market and society across multiple scales. The core concern of this handbook is how to characterise China’s environmental governance: whether the governance aims to promote economic growth through environmental regulation or is invoked to implement ‘ecological civilisation’. We reveal the purposeful ecologic fix under ‘state entrepreneurialism’, in which the state vision of ‘ecological civilisation’ occupies the centrality. At the same time, market instruments are mobilised, and the society actors are primarily reactive in environmental contestation or campaigns. Examining state-centred governmentality across a series of environmental practices such as eco-city planning, waste management and low-carbon energy transition, we highlight the need for collaborative environmental governance and greater attention to social justice.

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