In our long history, we human beings have accumulated remarkable wisdoms of coexisting with nature. Many of our ancestors reflected upon the human-nature relationships and knew how people should occupy the land, even in the time when people did not have too much concern about the damage that they posed on the environment. However, after the Industrial Revolution, many ugly industrial cities emerged; but the planners’ prescription was only a better urban design separating the residents from unpleasant industrial hazards. It was not until after World War II when industrialization and urbanization associated with mass production and mass consumption started to prevail all over the world and the unsustainable signs became apparent, that we recognized the irretrievable damage that human inventions have brought to the ecosystem (Carson, 1962) and the limits for economic development (Meadows et al., 1972). After the World Commission on Environment and Development published the Brundtland report in 1987 and the United Nations held its historical convention Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro in 1992, “sustainable development” or “sustainability” as a goal has begun to gain world-wide consensus. A huge amount of studies have been added to almost all research fields as well as the practices in different levels of government, involving various parties of stakeholders. However, despite decades of effort, we are still in the midst of searching for a road map towards sustainability (Biermann, 2013; Linnér and Selin, 2013). In an increasingly connected and interrelated world, it is ideal to find global sustainability in which all parts act coherently as a systematic whole. However, another way of thinking should also deserve consideration: if all the parts in the world sustain their own, we should not need to worry about our common future.
The purpose of this paper is to explore the framework of community social sustainability for China. The paper gives a brief introduction to the concept of social sustainability and its core inclusions in literatures at the beginning. Social sustainability, nevertheless, has not only been tested in theoretical research debates, but also already been practiced and traced in western context. The key ideas and systems are summarized after reviewing and analysing social sustainability concerns in western countries like US, UK and Canada by several case studies. Furthermore, comparing the evolution of this concept in China, a literature-review based analysis also discusses how the westernoriginated social sustainability idea should be understood and redeveloped in the distinctive Chinese context. Following these findings, a new framework of social sustainable communities is summarized that includes three layers: individual needs, social network and community development. The paper finally gives some extended discussions on the current community planning system in China and related issues concerning this topic. It is also proposed that developing detailed indicators under the framework, although is insufficient at the moment, can be a systematic process integrated with the updating of community planning mechanism in future during a public-evolved social planning process, a positive attempt toward social sustainability in practice as well.
To tackle the problems and challenges posed by the rapid urbanization processes and to purse urban development in sustainable manners, the Chinese government has taken vigorous efforts in developing eco-cities across the nation. After reviewing the studies on concepts, frameworks and indicator systems of eco-city, we have observed a large amount of literature on the selection of indicators under a singular framework in China rather than having a quantity comparison from a broader scope. To obtain a quantitative sense of how well China’s eco-cities are doing compared to the best practices in the international arena, we have selected two cases from Japan and Germany. By examining their indicator quantities under the national eco-city framework of China, we have identified the gap between economic related indicator values, suggesting lower averaged economic values and energy efficiencies of Chinese eco-cities. Targets concerning the waste sector are also lower in China than in the other two cases. The environmental indicator values show lower quality than in the other two cases as well, and the social indicators manifest a specific methodological approach for measurements in China. Discussions and suggestions are made based on the outcomes of comparisons, hopefully to provide reference for the future development of eco-cities in China.
Municipal district expansion and built-up area expansion are two main forms in urban spatial expansion. In China, the two processes are very drastic and unstable under high-speed urbanization. Geographical time-space stability emphasizes both time and space. With the help of geometry, this paper constructs a coordinate system of the standardized built-up area and municipal district area. Furthermore, the paper draws the spatial expansion path of some main prefecture cities from 2000 to 2010 and classifies the paths by the standardized mean value. Finally, three indexes called mov, tor and sd are given to calculate time-space stability. The study shows (1) Since 2000, municipal district expansion mainly happens in Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta, southeast of Fujian and the provincial capitals of mid-west areas as well as the surrounding cities which are close to these capitals. However, built-up area expansion doesn’t show the obvious polarization effect and each urban agglomeration’s own high speed. (2) The types of time-space path can be divided into stable type and crossing type. Most of the stable types are Low Low which means both municipal district and built-up area are under the mean value. And most of the cities which transfer its type only have one time change among four types. (3) Those cities which are high ranked are sensitive to mov and sd, both of which keep consistent characteristics between the cities and the whole nation. But those cities which are middle ranked are sensitive to tor which reflects an obvious change when a city carries out an administrative division adjustment in different years.
The shift from the free-allocation housing welfare system to a market system was one of the most important parts of the economic system reform implemented in China from 1998 onwards. In recent years, however, soaring housing prices have become a serious public concern. In this study, we explored the spatial characteristics of housing prices, using spatial data on the average transaction price of Beijing’s housing blocks from 2005 and 2012, in order to reveal the factors influencing changes in housing price and address the way in which such changes in turn can affect land use, transportation, the living environment, and quality of life. The analysis revealed that the spatial autocorrelation effects associated with housing prices (and their increase) became significantly stronger between 2005 and 2012, especially in the central part of Beijing. Autocorrelation was, however, identified for both years. This finding explains the emergence of sub-area markets in recent years. It also provides evidence which suggests that developers or real estate agencies may have boosted housing prices purposely, which can lead to a biased market environment. Targeted policies are required in order to address, and avoid, this problem in the future. The spatial patterns of housing prices in different parts of Beijing were examined in detail. The differentiation of housing prices showed that Beijing has, in the past decade, gradually become a polynuclear city. By comparing the data for the two years using a multivariate linear regression model, the factors influencing housing price growth were analyzed. Besides location and the environment, it was found that housing policies related to property rights, the construction of the transportation network, and population change all played a key role in explaining changes in the spatial pattern of housing prices in Beijing in recent years.
In the process of building and maintaining houses, residents as individuals and social human beings depend on their respective interests for improving their dwellings. The strength of tradition supports the element of stability from one generation to another. It indicates that there are groups of people whose traditions will generally be passed on to the next generation. Tradition is still maintained when utilizing the home as a Home-based Enterprise (HBE). HBE developments are based on a family’s economic growth rate and also consider their household needs. In homogeneous houses, it appears that there is vernacular activity in building or repairing homes. As an example, in the case of HBEs, housing activities are maintained during the process of urban growth. Houses need to be expanded according to the needs of households and business activities within a limited urban area. In this research the pattern ofhouse development based on vernacular HBEs, encompassing both living activities and business activities, has been investigated.