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Rising in the East: Contemporary New Towns in Asia

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Abstract

In the West, the design of new towns has always been based on an ideal model in accordance with the ideas of that moment. In the case of the latest generation of new towns in Asia, however, only quantitative and marketing principles seem to play a role: the number of square metres, dwellings or people, or the greenest, most beautiful or most technologically advanced town. Rising in the East shows which design principles these premises are based on.
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... As the concept's usage has become more widespread, so too have the meanings associated with it and the diversity of projects adopting the label. A consistent theme in the literature on eco-cities is that there is no one accepted definition of the concept ( Joss 2011a;Keeton 2011;Roseland 1997). Those definitions that do exist tend to be either lists of principles or very broad. ...
... Some hold that the lack of a clear definition of the eco-city detracts from its value and argue that we need some sort of standard or set of indicators to evaluate progress and measure a project's 'eco-city-ness' (International Eco-city Framework and Standards 2011;Keeton 2011;Kline 2000). Such standards would clarify the line between an eco-city and a city with some environmentally friendly aspects. ...
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Article
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... Section 1: Micro-governance of commercially built residential projects in East and Southeast Asia While the private sector's involvement in urban space production has a long history in East and Southeast Asia (Hogan et al., 2012;Philips and Yeh, 1987), the 1990s marked a turning point. As in the rest of the world, this period saw accelerated private sector-led urban space production and, at the periphery of cities, the diffusion of new, more or less enclosed urban configurations such as gated communities, new towns, and satellite cities (see Keeton, 2011;Shatkin, 2017). ...
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... The above experiences in Europe, Asia, and North America have influenced the large number of new-town projects initiated in the 21st century, especially in developing/emerging economies (see Keeton & Nijhuis, 2019;Keeton, 2011). A simple categorization of new towns has been offered to include those built as new capital cities, those associated with economic activities, and those constructed as responses to rapid population growth and urbanization (Merlin, 2005). ...
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This paper advances the concept of mutual path dependence by investigating the new-town and low-income housing initiatives in Iran. Seventeen new towns have been established in the country. Many of them have additionally become major sites for Iran’s low-income housing scheme. The study employs a flexible approach to policy research to assess the two related programs. According to its findings, the initiatives have been able to offer less expensive means to homeownership on a large scale, with the more successful new-town cases acting as dormitory communities next to large cities. Yet, the new towns and their housing projects exhibit various infrastructure and service shortcomings as well as a failure to link to regional or national plans concerned with territorial balance, industrial development, and employment. More importantly, as the main source of finance in the new towns is opaque land sales, it has given impetus to property speculation and corruption. Despite these major issues, the current policy is to continue both initiatives. The paper thus suggests that Iran’s new towns and housing schemes exhibit related path dependencies. The continuation and progression of each program depend on its previous path as well as that of the other initiative, rather than sound policy responses to the prevailing circumstances and their challenges.
... A consistent theme in the literature on eco-cities is that there is no one agreed upon definition of the concept (Joss 2011;Keeton 2011;Roseland 1997a). Worth pointing out is that most of the definitions of the eco-city tend to be associated with the wider socio-cultural context in which this model of sustainable urban form is embedded in the form of initiatives and projects and related objectives, requirements, resources, and capabilities. ...
Chapter
Ecological urbanism has, over the last 30 years or so, emerged as one of the preferred responses to the challenges of sustainable development. The eco-city is advocated as the most environmentally sound model of sustainable cities. However, yet knowing to what extent we are making any progress towards sustainable cities is problematic While significant advances in some areas of knowledge have been achieved and some impressive practical initiatives have been realized, a very conflicting, or at least fragmented, picture arises of change on the ground in the light of the escalating urbanization trend. In this context, it has been suggested that sustainable cities need to embrace and leverage what advanced ICT has to offer, so as to improve, advance, and maintain their contribution to the goals of sustainable development. This chapter provides a comprehensive state–of–the–art review of the field of ecological urbanism in relation to sustainable urbanism and data-driven smart urbanism. In doing so, it addresses the conceptual, theoretical, discursive, and practical dimensions of these approaches to urbanism; the multiple and diverse models, design principles and strategies, and ideals and benefits of ecological urbanism; the key deficiencies, challenges, uncertainties, and opportunities pertaining to sustainable urbanism; as well as new frameworks for data-driven smart sustainable/ecological urbanism. This is further supported by a critical discussion with respect to Science, Technology, and Society linkages and concerns. The added value of this interdisciplinary review lies in its thoroughness, comprehensiveness, topicality, and original contribution in the form of novel insights as a result of analyzing and synthesizing a large body of multidisciplinary work. This review of and critique on the existing work on ecological urbanism provides a valuable reference for researchers and practitioners in related communities and the necessary material to inform these communities of the latest developments in the area and its relation to sustainable urbanism and data-driven smart urbanism as the leading global paradigms of urbanism.
... From the 1980s, Chinese leaders began to realize that high energy inefficient industries would become an obstacle to China's sustainable economic development (Tsang and Kolk 2010). This partly led to the principle of equal treatment to development and conservation with an immediate emphasis on the latter being widely accepted, and also strengthened the strategic importance of energy conservation policies (Keeton 2011). Major measures included 'National Rules and Standards for Energy Saving', 'Medium-and-Long-Term Energy Conservation Plan'. ...
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Chapter
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Ecological urbanism is seen today as one of the keys towards unlocking the quest for a low-carbon or fossil fuel–free society. Global and local policies promote and advocate the eco–city as the most environmentally sound model of sustainable urbanism. It is argued that the eco–city strategies and solutions are expected to deliver positive outcomes in terms of minimal demand on energy resources and thus minimal environmental impacts. Moreover, Iit has recently been suggested that the eco-city needs to embrace and leverage what advanced ICT has to offer, particularly with regard to sustainable energy systems, so as to improve and advance its contribution to the goals of environmental sustainability. Therefore, this paper examines how the eco–city especially its core environmental dimension is practiced and justified in urban planning and development with respect to sustainable energy systems and their integration with data-driven smart technologies at the district level. To illuminate this urban phenomenon accordingly, a descriptive case study is adopted as a qualitative research methodology where the empirical basis is formed by urban planning and development documents combined with secondary data and scientific literature. To provide a theoretical foundation and produce a rationale for this study, this paper first provides a state–of–the–art review of the field of ecological urbanism in terms of its foundations, models, strategies, research issues, as well as data–driven smart technology trends. This study shows that the Eco-city District of Stockholm Royal Seaport uses green energy technologies and data-driven smart technologies as the key strategies and solutions for achieving the environmental objectives of sustainable development in terms of lowering energy consumption and mitigating pollution. This entails conserving and decreasing the demand for energy through renewable resources (i.e., sun, wind, and water), bio–fuelled Combined Heat Power system, large-scale smart grid system, energy management, sustainable waste management, and passive solar houses. This research enhances the scholarly community’s current understanding of the emerging phenomenon of the smart eco-city with respect to the synergic potential of the integration of its sustainable energy strategies with data-driven technology solutions for advancing environmental sustainability.
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