International Review for Spatial Planning and Sustainable Development
Online ISSN : 2187-3666
ISSN-L : 2187-3666
Special issue on Environment Management and Spatial Planning
Rural to Urban Transitions at Shanghai's Fringes
Explaining spatial transformation in the backyard of a Chinese mega-city with the help of the Layers-Approach
Harry den Hartog
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2017 Volume 5 Issue 4 Pages 54-72


Delta’s are strategic, but at the same time vulnerable (Ke, 2014; Balica, Wright, & van der Meulen, 2012). This paper will explore the (spatial) consequences of urban pressure on Shanghai’s rural fringes, focusing on the case of Chongming Eco-Island, which belongs administratively to Shanghai. The current top-down policy to transform Chongming into an Eco-Island is not yet working as promised in various policies. Via field observations, interviews with more than twenty-five stakeholders, and policy reviews, this paper explores to what extent the plans of the national government on Chongming Eco-Island are being implemented and how it is possible to steer the developments into a more sustainable direction. To be able to mitigate the negative impacts for the natural and man-made environment a transition in spatial planning and design approaches is urgently needed. For this to occur, it has to be made clear which factors can explain the process of seemingly unbridled urbanisation at Shanghai’s fringes, and which role planning processes play in this development. The so-called Layers-Approach will be used to visualize this complexity of different spatial claims and interest. This approach has been proven to be useful as a tool for classification to be able to distinguish priorities and responsibilities for policy choices. Based on this, some recommendations will be made in this paper to steer the spatial development into a more resilient direction and hopefully mitigate the collateral damage for nature and society caused by current spatial planning and design practices.

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© 2017 SPSD Press.
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