Rethinking regional green space networks in China

Lawson, Gill M. & Liu, Binyi (2009) Rethinking regional green space networks in China. In Proceedings of the 46th IFLA World Congress, Brazillian Association of Landscape Architects and International Federation of Landscape Architects, Rio De Janeiro.

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Ecological networks are often represented as utopian webs of green meandering through cities, across states, through regions and even across a country (Erickson, 2006, p.28; Fabos, 2004, p.326; Walmsley, 2006). While this may be an inspiring goal for some in developed countries, the reality may be somewhat different in developing countries. China, in its shift to urbanisation and suburbanisation, is also being persuaded to adjust its planning schemes according to these aspirational representations of green spaces (Yu et al, 2006, p.237; Zhang and Wang, 2006, p.455). The failure of other countries to achieve regional goals of natural and cultural heritage protection on the ground in this way (Peterson et al, 2007; Ryan et al, 2006; von Haaren and Reich, 2006) suggests that there may be flaws in the underpinning concepts that are widely circulated in North American and Western European literature (Jongman et al, 2004; Walmsley, 2006). In China, regional open space networks, regional green infrastructure or regional ecological corridors as we know them in the West, are also likely to be problematic, at least in the foreseeable future. Reasons supporting this view can be drawn from lessons learned from project experience in landscape planning and related fields of study in China and overseas.

Implementation of valuable regional green space networks is problematic because:

• the concept of region as a spatial unit for planning green space networks is ambiguous and undefinable for practical purposes;

• regional green space networks traditionally require top down inter-governmental cooperation and coordination which are generally hampered by inequalities of influence between and within government agencies;

• no coordinating body with funding powers exists for regional green space development and infrastructure authorities are still in transition from engineering authorities;

• like other infrastructure projects, green space is likely to become a competitive rather than a complementary resource for city governments;

• stable long-term management, maintenance and uses of green space networks must fit into a ‘family’ social structure rather than a ‘public good’ social structure, particularly as rural and urban property rights are being re-negotiated with city governments; and

• green space provision is a performance indicator of urban improvement in cities within the city hierarchy and remains quantitatively-based (land area, tree number and per capita share) rather than qualitatively-based with local people as the focus.

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ID Code: 33070
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Keywords: Chinese Landscapes, Landscape Planning
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > URBAN AND REGIONAL PLANNING (120500) > Land Use and Environmental Planning (120504)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 [please consult the authors]
Deposited On: 12 Jul 2010 01:32
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2011 15:39

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