Eco and low-carbon, smart and sponge: Potential and delusion in realising environmental benefits from sustainable city branding

Martin de Jong*, Li Sun

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic

Abstract

Recent decades have seen an enormous surge in the use of city labels: eco-city, low-carbon city, sponge city, sustainable city, smart city and many more. This increase is evidence of the wish among municipalities globally and in China to trigger urban and industrial transformation from a manufacturing- to a service-dominated economy, a phenomenon also known as ‘ecological modernization’ or ‘smart growth’. Since such a transition does not come about automatically, local governments use city branding strategies to attract new types of corporations to their industrial and high-tech parks. City branding consists of both a (hopefully unique) city brand identity and the use of one or more (less unique but still appealing) city labels. In this chapter, the authors will present recent empirical evidence in the rise of the use of sustainable city labels, demonstrate how this is part of a broader trend to take ‘green’ city branding more seriously but potentially also a trap to appear greener without actually engaging in much real green-policy action. This is followed by various examples of this development among leading Chinese cities. The chapter concludes with a section admonishing how sustainable city branding can be complemented by real, sustainable action through aligning branding strategy with visioning and implementation among municipal departments.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook on China's Urban Environmental Governance
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Chapter12
Pages186-200
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781803922041
ISBN (Print)9781803922034
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2023

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Eco and low-carbon, smart and sponge: Potential and delusion in realising environmental benefits from sustainable city branding'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this