Financing eco cities and low carbon cities: The case of Shenzhen International Low Carbon City

Changjie Zhan, Martin de Jong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Financing sustainable urban development has become a major issue, especially in Asian countries where the size and scale of construction efforts are vast. Shenzhen International Low Carbon City (ILCC) is a demonstration project of the China-EU Partnership on Sustainable Urbanization (CEUPSU) and an intriguing example for understanding innovative forms of funding with the specific aim to do this in environmentally, socially and economically sustainable ways. This article examines which financial vehicles are utilized in ILCC, in what way these contribute to sustainability and which implications the lessons drawn from it have for other eco and low carbon cities in China and elsewhere. The authors find that Urban Investment and Finance Platforms and Public-Private-Partnerships (PPPs) in a broader context are the two financial vehicles ILCC uses. A broad approach to PPPs is chosen in which stakeholder involvement is key and social conflicts are avoided by balancing the interests of various stakeholders. In particular, planning the village area as a whole and arranging finance through ‘metro + property’ provide a replicable and operable example for other cities in funding urban renewal and community transformation and dealing with the issue how residents can share the benefits of urban development with developers. The combination of these financial arrangements facilitates ILCC to achieve the triple bottom line in sustainable urbanization. ILCC is environmentally sustainable by promoting low carbon transition, socially sustainable through resident and villager involvement, and financially sustainable through diversification of funding sources. The financing experience gained from ILCC provides practical lessons for other cities and has significant implications in adapting institutional and organizational arrangements to create enabling conditions for innovative financing activities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-125
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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