Eco-cities, governance and sustainable lifestyles: The case of the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City

Andrew Flynn, Li Yu*, Peter Feindt, Chun Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we argue that to analyse the eco-development process we need to explore it as a whole, from design, through delivery and then to how these developments influence the behaviour of the people who live and work in eco-developments. At each stage of the development process it is important to analyse and understand what key actors understand by the term 'eco' (resource efficiency of land and materials), how they understand the institutional, economic, social and communicative mechanisms to effectively produce 'eco' developments and 'green economy', and what learning opportunities exist to promote positive ecological and competitiveness ideas. Perhaps, because so little is known, the greatest need of all is to analyse how the new residents of eco-cities are living their lives and whether or not they are more environmentally friendly than before. In this paper we provide empirical data on those who have moved to the most profile eco-development in China, the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City. The data reveals that whilst the habits of some residents are sympathetic to the environment, other parts of their lifestyle - linked to comfort and convenience - are not. Moreover, the aspirations of the residents for an increasingly middle class lifestyle mean that resource use could be even higher in the future. This is a highly significant finding both for those engaged in academic debates on eco-development and for policy makers and practitioners involved in the development of eco-cities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-86
JournalHabitat International
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • Governance
  • Lifestyle
  • Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City
  • Sustainable development


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