News & events


Sustainable urbanisation in China: Challenges, transition and policies

26 July 2013
12:15 - 14:00

Date: 26 July 2013

Time: 12:15 – 14:00

Presenter: Professor Zhu Dajian, Director, Institute of Governance for Sustainable Development, Tongji University, Shanghai, China


It is estimated that within approximately 20 -30 years, 1 billion people will live in Chinese urban areas, accounting for 70% of the population. This is almost double the 36% urbanisation level of 2000. Recognizing that rapidly growing cities have become a critical issue of China’s sustainable development, this talk will review some of the critical topics in research of sustainable cities in China. First, it will explain why sustainable cities are important for China currently and introduce the major problems that Chinese urbanisation is facing. These include population size, the rate of urbanisation, the quality of life or environment and capacity issues (e.g. institutional capacity, technological capacity, urban governance).  Secondly, it will describe three different approaches to sustainable cities, emphasizing closed-loop material flows. Finally, it will evaluate how sustainable urban policies in Chinese cities reconcile the advantages and disadvantages of such tradeoffs as economic growth vs. livability; gradual reform vs. radical change; densification vs. spatial extension; top-down activist government vs. bottom-up public participation.

Dr Zhu Dajian is the Professor of the School of Economics & Management, Head of Department of Public Policy and Management, and Director of Institute of Governance for Sustainable Development, at Tongji University in Shanghai. His research interests include sustainable development and ecological economics, urban and regional development, public service and public private partnerships and corporate social responsibility. He was a senior research scholar at Harvard University in 2004-2005 and a visiting research fellow at Melbourne University in 1994-1995. He is a member of the Social Science Commission under the Chinese Education Ministry, a member of the Experts Commission on Sustainable Development & Resource and Environment under the Chinese Construction Ministry, a special policy advisor for Shanghai Municipal Government and some other Chinese cities, and a sustainable development advisor for Expo 2010 in Shanghai.

Kindly RSVP by 23 July 2013

This seminar may be attended via video conference in Pretoria, Cape Town and KwaZulu-Natal. Details as below. The speakers will be in Pretoria.

Cape Town: HSRC, 12th Floor, Plein Park Building (Opposite Revenue Office), Plein Street, Cape Town. Contact Jean Witten, Tel (021) 4668004, Fax (021) 461 0299, or

Durban: First floor HSRC board room, 750 Francois Road, Ntuthuko Junction, Pods 5 and 6, Cato Manor, Contact Ridhwaan Khan, Tel (031) 242 5400, cell: 083 788 2786 or

Pretoria: HSRC Video Conference, 1st floor HSRC Library Human Sciences Research Council, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria. Arlene Grossberg, Tel: (012) 302 2811, e-mail: