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When author, Austin Williams began researching China’s urban development in 2011, the country claimed to have 11 Eco-cities: environmentally-friendly, sustainable, smart, low-carbon, urban centres. Within 5 years, it had documented 285. China has regularly been portrayed as an environmental pariah, so are we witnessing history’s greatest environmental turnaround. Are China’s urban experiments providing valuable lessons for cities worldwide? What is an Eco-city anyway?
This lecture will explore the social, political, historical and cultural context for China’s environmental rise: exploring the benefits and dangers of China’s vast eco-city program. Williams will describe the complexities which emerge in the race to balance the environment with industrialisation, quality with quantity, and the liberty of the individual with the authority of the Chinese state.