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Hosted by the Program on Chinese Cities (PCC)

03/21/2024 3:00 PM-4:00 PM EST

Presenter: Duanshuai Shen

PhD Candidate, Beijing Normal University  Supervisor: Prof. Xiaoping Zhou

Visiting scholar, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Supervisor: Prof. Yan Song


Nature-based solutions (NbS) have been prioritized as a solution to the urban ecological crisis. As a product of public knowledge, the global standard for NbS has a certain degree of global universality, but at the same time, it shows obvious local differences in its application fields. China has developed an urban ecological spatial governance strategy with comprehensive land consolidation (CLC) as the core policy tool, following the indigenous “mountains, rivers, forests, farmlands, lakes and grasslands are part of a community of life” philosophy of territorial spatial governance, while subconsciously absorbing the NbS concept. Therefore, this study innovatively establishes a combined theoretical analytical framework called “SES-NbS”, which examines how the concept of NbS is implicitly embedded in the ecological space governance process in Shanghai, as well as what kind of land policy frameworks have been shaped. The study fills the gap of existing studies that have not investigated and summarized NbS at multiple scales in ecological spatial governance in Chinese metropolis by looking at three scales: municipal policies, country park, and micro experimental project. The results show that although the concept of NbS does not appear directly in Shanghai’s official policy texts, the nature of the practice shows that Shanghai has been actively utilizing NbS in the field of ecological governance. In addition, Shanghai’s country parks are a typical Chinese example of NbS addressing the ecological crisis of the metropolis and meeting the ecological needs of urban residents. The concept of NbS is being further deepened and practiced in smaller-scale NbS experimental project with greater direct involvement of academics and other subjects. However, similar to the difficulties encountered by many countries in practicing NbS, Shanghai also faces challenges such as the dilemma of mainstreaming NbS policies and insufficient participation of social capital. The “SES-NbS” framework developed in this study provides a more contextualized analytical tool for studying natural resource governance, especially ecological resource governance. Shanghai’s NbS can provide theoretical insights and practical lessons for other metropolitan cities in China, as well as other countries and regions facing similar urban governance challenges.



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