The Evaluation of the Implementation of Smart Growth in Chinese Official Plans: a case study of Xuzhou City, China
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This thesis addresses the cause and the extent of sprawl in China, how to deal with sprawl using smart growth in official plans. Sprawl is “haphazard growth or outward extension of a city resulting from uncontrolled or poorly managed development” (Merriam-Webster dictionary). The importance of dealing with sprawl is realized when one considers negative impacts of sprawl, including traffic congestion, air and water pollution, loss of natural habitat and farmland, a fiscal and social crisis in the cities, and inability of public services to keep pace with suburban growth. Despite the great potential of using North America’s smart growth to deal with China’s sprawl, it is very important to bear in mind the different situation in North America and China, such as the difference in the development pattern, transportation modes, living philosophy, land policy, and fiscal stimulation. This research examines how much of the smart growth is being implemented in Xuzhou’s Official Plan and what obstacles prevent some principles of smart growth from being used. This research concludes that Chinese current policy and economic climate are favourable to the implementation of smart growth. Although some principles of smart growth have been embodied in official plans and planning policies, this research has illustrated that there are several challenges that planners and municipal leaders face in relation to the creation of a range of housing opportunities and choices, to the fostering distinctive and attractive communities with a strong sense of place, to the preservation of open space and farmland, to the establishment of cost-effective development decisions. Finally, the research identifies several recommendations to implement smart growth in China. The significance of this study for the planning profession is that by identifying opportunities and challenges to deal with sprawl using smart growth in China’ context, planners will be better able to formulate strategies, especially at the official plan level, that implement smart growth by targeting sprawl that currently impedes cities’ sustainable development. Through implementing smart growth, cities in China will be able to cope with growth while maintaining a high quality of life and fulfilling the goal of balanced environmental, social, economic, and land use priorities.