Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Call for papers for a special issue addressing “Low Carbon and Eco-Cities in East Asia”

For the last several decades, we have witnessed unprecedented urbanization processes in East Asia. In China, for example, more than  660 million people live in 655 cities,  and  nearly 50%  of the population were urbanized by 2010. South Korea and Japan are even more highly urbanized (66% of
Japan’s population and 80% of South Korea’s population now live in urban areas: ADB 2010). While extensive urban growth  has garnered economic and social benefits  in densely concentrated and connected urban economies, this process has also created  pressing economic, social and environmental problems

Urban areas which account for only two percent of the Earth's surface generate almost 70 percent of anthropogenic  greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions  (Rosenzweig et al. 2010). However, the potential and capacity for cities to tackle climate change  should not be  underestimated. City governments
with support of citizens and local organizations are able to engage in climate change issues by setting
GHG emission reduction targets, implementing comprehensive climate change  mitigation and
adaptation policies, and monitoring and disclosing municipal governments’ performance.

Responding to critical challenges of rapid urban development and climate change, initiatives working
toward  a  ‘low carbon city’ or ‘eco-city’ aim to incorporate the concept of sustainable development
into urban planning and development. Harmonizing economic, social and environmental
development in urban areas is the key purpose for eco-city movements. The development of a low
carbon city is intended to address human-induced climate change by reducing GHG emissions and by
adjusting to climate change impacts.

Cities in East Asia have been  actively engaging in the issues of urbanization and climate change.
Adopting the concept of low carbon cities and eco-cities is commonly spreading out in this region, despite  remarkable differences  among these cities  in physical, economic, cultural, and political conditions. However, compared with burgeoning literature on climate change and the city in the US and Europe, little scholarly attention has been devoted to examining the role and efficacy of cities in pursing sustainable development and responding  to  climate change in East Asia.    Since the development of low carbon and eco-cities are closely related to urban studies, sociology, political
science, public policy and regional studies, we welcome interdisciplinary approaches. While we will give preference to low carbon and eco-cities initiatives in China, Japan, and Korea, studies on ecocities in other Asian regions are also welcome to contribute to enhance our understandings with a comparative perspective.

In this special issue, we will primarily address the following topics and questions:

  • What are key  characteristics that distinguish the concepts of  eco-city, sustainable city and low carbon city?
  • How do the concepts of eco-city  & low-carbon city play out in the context of East Asian countries? Why  have  some  initiatives become  more  successful  than  others?
  • What are the main similarities and differences in the forms and practices of low-carbon and ecocities in the region?
  • What are the roles of local governments, international organizations, NGOs, and business sectors in establishing low carbon and eco cities in East Asia?
  • What motivates local governments to establish their own low carbon and eco-city initiatives? What are the barriers or challenges that cities face?
  • How do local actors promote or contest the costs and benefits of low-carbon and eco-city initiatives?
  • What case studies can help us to better understand the politics of such initiatives?
  • How do central government policies influence planning and implementation of low carbon and ecocity policies with a perspective of multilevel governance? On the other hand, how can  central governments learn from the successes and failures of local level eco-city policies and initiatives?
  • How do researchers and policy makers evaluate the development of eco-cities using measurable indices or indicators?
  • Why do some cities internationally or domestically collaborate with  and learn from  other cities regarding low carbon or eco-cities? Which factors facilitate cooperative relations between cities?

Papers addressing any of these themes are welcome.  Up to seven papers will be selected for the
proposed special issue of a good regional studies journal (to be confirmed later).

Workshop: authors of selected papers will be invited to a workshop in Hong Kong in June, 2012, to
discuss the papers and special issue, with travel and accommodation costs provided by the
Governance in Asia Research Centre at City University of Hong Kong for those able to attend.
Details of the workshop will be announced later.

Full papers or title and abstract of a proposed paper should be sent to either of the organizers, by
January 30, 2012:

Dr. Taedong Lee
Assistant Professor
Department of Asian and International Studies
City University of Hong Kong
Tel) +852 3442 2248
Fax) +852 3442 018

Dr. Bo Miao
Assistant Professor
Department of Asian and International Studies
City University of Hong Kong
Tel) +852 3442 4482

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