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Innovating Spatial Planning in China: Dutch planning experience in view of China's challenges and opportunities

Report | 09-12-2017

This study was carried out in the context of international cooperation in the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED). The CCICED is an advisory board for the Chinese government that has both Chinese and international members. Over the years, the council has devoted a great deal of attention to ecological civilisation in relation to urbanisation. Many Chinese and international reference projects have been put forward as good examples of ecological civilisation. A number of these were from the Netherlands. Over the years, CCICED and other Chinese experts have visited these examples of Dutch planning practice in historic cities and new towns. Dutch spatial planning and urbanisation policy has proven to be a source of inspiration to Chinese policy makers in spatial planning. Dutch spatial concepts such as the Randstad and the Green Heart, a ring of cities surrounding a rural core, and Room for the River, a plan to prevent river floods and simultaneously improve spatial quality, proved to be of interest from the Chinese side. Therefore a paper that explores these matter further was thought to be useful.

In 2013, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency was part of the CCICED taskforce Study on China’s Environmental Protection and Social Development that acknowledged China’s rapid urbanisation as one of the stages for ecological civilisation.

In 2014, Dutch experts provided advice for the CCICED Special Policy Study Report Good City Models, Under the Concept of Ecological Civilization, in which the main focus was on spatial planning concepts such as brownfield regeneration, Transit Oriented Development and people-oriented urbanism. In this paper, we compare planning and urban development in China to the Dutch spatial planning experience by focusing on different aspects of governance. In the last chapter, the elements of the Dutch planning system which are potentially applicable to China’s urbanisation process and ecological civilization will be discussed.

Author(s)Arjan Harbers (PBL), David Evers (PBL), Ton Dassen (PBL), Martin de Jong (Delft University of Technology) and Li Sun (Delft University of Technology)
Report no.2866
Publication date09-12-2017