Despite increasing expectations and hope placed on cities as promising solutions to the global crisis of climate change, a significant gap has been constantly found between promise and reality, raising the question of why cities often fail to deliver their potential. This talk approaches this question from a perspective of an environmental state and examines how the policy discourse of decarbonization is received, reinterpreted, and exploited by urban actors in China. Through an analysis of 341 legal cases and a detailed comparative study of two low-carbon city projects in Guangdong province, it reveals an emerging legitimacy space contested by different rationales.
Dr Jennifer Yunjing Li is a Research Fellow at Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities (LKYCIC). Her research interest is located at the intersection of urban sustainability policy, climate planning, and urban development politics. She received her doctoral and master degrees in urban planning from Columbia University in the City of New York. She also holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China. Before joining the LKYCIC, she worked as an environmental sustainability consultant at the United Nations Population Fund and a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Geography at the University of Hong Kong.
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