Scholarly article on topic 'A Common Vision among Divergent Interests: New Governance Strategies and Tools for a Sustainable Urban Transition'

A Common Vision among Divergent Interests: New Governance Strategies and Tools for a Sustainable Urban Transition Academic research paper on "Agriculture, forestry, and fisheries"

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Procedia Engineering
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{"Inclusive governance" / "vertical and horizontal coordination" / "peer learning" / "planning tools"}

Abstract of research paper on Agriculture, forestry, and fisheries, author of scientific article — Lina Li, Martina Kampmann

Abstract The urban age in China offers good opportunities for progress and innovation in the country, and also poses serious challenges. The urban expansion to the surrounding rural land creates multiple challenges and conflicts for urban governance. The paper will explore approaches and potential solutions for these challenges, including governance innovations and tools for transformation. It presents the lessons learnt from a number of projects, which were opening new potentials by fostering transformative governance, fruitful inclusive consultations at local, regional and national level, and learning from multi-stakeholder dialogues to achieve sustainable urbanisation. In taking the urban age with inclusive procedures and solutions forward, we conclude that China's valuable experiences in urbanisation efforts should be shared with other actors at urban, national and international levels.

Academic research paper on topic "A Common Vision among Divergent Interests: New Governance Strategies and Tools for a Sustainable Urban Transition"



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Procedía Engineering 198 (2017) 813 - 825

Procedía Engineering

Urban Transitions Conference, Shanghai, September 2016

A common vision among divergent interests:

New governance strategies and tools for a sustainable urban


Lina Lia*, Martina Kampmannb

aadelphi consult GmbH, Caspar-Theyss-Strasse 14a, 14193 Berlin, Germany

b4sing GmbH, Oesterleystrasse 41, 22587 Hamburg, Germany (formerly Senior Counsellor on Knowledge Sharing at OECD and Director

Strategic Partnerships at GIZ)


The urban age in China offers good opportunities for progress and innovation in the country, and also poses serious challenges. The urban expansion to the surrounding rural land creates multiple challenges and conflicts for urban governance. The paper will explore approaches and potential solutions for these challenges, including governance innovations and tools for transformation. It presents the lessons learnt from a number of projects, which were opening new potentials by fostering transformative governance, fruitful inclusive consultations at local, regional and national level, and learning from multi-stakeholder dialogues to achieve sustainable urbanisation. In taking the urban age with inclusive procedures and solutions forward, we conclude that China's valuable experiences in urbanisation efforts should be shared with other actors at urban, national and international levels.

© 2017 The Authors. Published byElsevierLtd. Thisis an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.Org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-review under responsibility of the organizing committee of the Urban Transitions Conference Keywords:Inclusive governance; vertical and horizontal coordination; peer learning; planning tools

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +49 (30) 30 87 76 0 - 83; fax+49 (30) 308 77 60 89. E-mail address:ü

1877-7058 © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

Peer-review under responsibility of the organizing committee of the Urban Transitions Conference doi:10.1016/j.proeng.2017.07.132

1. Introduction

With the majority of the national population now classified as urban as of 2011, China has entered an urban age for the first time in its entire history. The urban age in China offers good opportunities for progress and innovation in the country, and also poses serious challenges. The urban expansion to the surrounding rural land creates multiple challenges and conflicts for urban governance - urban vs. rural, land owner vs. land developer and residents, convergence vs. divergence among social, environmental and economic objectives etc. According to H.B. Shin [1] the present development of cities including its related urban villages is increasingly becoming sites of discontent and polarization. The pursuit of land resources and promotion of investment in fixed assets will continue to bring about radical changes to the ways in which people access and share any accrued resource and wealth in cities. The future prospect of China's social, economic and political development will depend on how these rising urban conflicts are addressed.

Against such background, this paper will explore approaches and potential solutions for these challenges, including governance innovations and tools for transformation. It presents the lessons learnt from a number of projects, which were opening new potentials by fostering transformative governance1, fruitful inclusive consultations at local, regional and national level, and learning from multi-stakeholder dialogues to achieve sustainable urbanisation.

Our assumption is that transformative governance engages with diversity, i.e. the variety of actors, dimensions and levels of governance involved, and the huge coordination gaps. A systemic approach is useful, involving both urban villages and cities for the sustainable and resilient future. A series of governance innovations, processes and tools are available to help solving the Chinese urban villages' struggles. We draw on an integral framework approach, applied research from transformative governance projects in Asia, Africa and Europe, e.g. the V-LED program in Vietnam, South Africa, Kenya and the Philippines focusing on vertical coordination mechanisms and horizontal exchange, identifying the elements that stimulate joint actions. We also draw on peer-to-peer learning experiences between cities in Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and with western countries in peer dialogues.

The paper will start by introducing the catalySD framework as a tool for forming common vision and engaging stakeholders in a more inclusive urbanisation process. It will then provide three key elements of the framework -vertical and horizontal coordination, peer learning and multi-stakeholder engagement, each of which includes a short theoretical introduction of the concept followed by case studies. The following chapter then looks into the specific background and challenges of the urban villages in China and discusses briefly on the application of these tools and processes. In the last chapter, we summarise the key lessons and also provide further thoughts to link this topic to a broader context.

1 Transformation is defined as pursuit of strategies to realize sustainable development globally, by going beyond 'greening' business as usual and by a corresponding redistribution of relevant resources. See also

Lina Li and Martina Kampmann / Procedia Engineering 198 (2017) 813 - 825 2. catalySD framework as a tool: high-quality multi stakeholder engagement and communication

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Figure 1 dimensions of collaborative initiatives for sustainability, Source: Hemmati M and Rogers F, 2015

According to Hemmati and Rogers [2], high-quality multi-stakeholder engagement and communication (MSEC) allows effectively initiating transformation processes through convening the necessary actors, developing a shared understanding of the context and the challenges, creating strategies and action plans, and implementing them in whatever constellations is appropriate. It further allows dealing with the conflicts between the different goals and targets, the conflicts over natural and financial resources to achieve them, and transforming conflict into integration and win-win solutions. Thus we consider it as an overarching framework and a tool to overcome conflict and engage multiple stakeholders in a transformation towards more just, sustainable and inclusive urbanisation processes.

The catalySD framework (see Figure 1) identified four important dimensions for governing the transformation process of sustainability, i.e. the individual, relationship, institutions and culture (s). Individuals need to acquire communication, negation, coordination, networking, diplomacy and facilitation skills; they need to deal with complexity and uncertainty, and their mind-set also matter. Relationships of trust and respect, or at least a minimum seed of those, are crucial. They need to be built up or used from what is already there. Principles such as transparency, accountability, equity, integration of perspectives rather than domination of one, and shared ownership, among others, need to be honoured in different stakeholders' particular cases. Institutions refer to structures, systems, processes and frameworks that institutionalise initiatives while maintain the necessary flexibility, adaptability and learning from mistakes/failures. Culture(s) refer to the collective patterns of thinking and acting of different target audiences and demographic groups. There are connections between diversity and innovation.

It is worth noticing before going into the details of the three elements in the following chapters that they should not be separated in theoretical thinking or practical implementation. The horizontal and vertical governance structure, for example, could include (peer) learning and knowledge sharing as well as stakeholders engagement processes.

3. Governance strategy: from conflict to convergence

3.1. Vertical and horizontal coordination mechanisms

Multi-level and multi-dimensional governance originated from political science as a tool of research but more recently also motivates policy makers and practitioners in reflecting and improving their interactions with each other. Models presented by M Jaenicke [3] and UNDP [4], see Figure 2 and 3, provide illustrations of multi-level systems and linkages of both vertical and horizontal dimensions.

Continental/EU eve National eve Regional

city leve village eve

National government

Tourism, etc. Agriculture construction Transport Energy Industry

civil society Government Business

Figure 2 Rio model of multi-level/multi-sectoral governance framework Figure 3 an integrated green LECRDS governance framework

3.2. Case study: V-LED project in Vietnam, the Philippines, Kenya and South Africa

Supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety as part of its International Climate Initiative (IKI), the Vertical Integration and Learning for Low Emission Development (V-LED) program2is implemented in four Asian and African countries, namely Kenya, Philippines, South Africa and Vietnam, from 2015 to 2019. The key objective is to promote a dialogic approach to vertical coordination and horizontal exchanges to stimulate climate action.

Within the horizontal and vertical framework (the grid), different professional bodies with different frames of reference (different timeframe, processes, and lingo etc.) need to interact. It is quite rare when the practical and day-to-day hurdles and successes of maneuvering in this grid can be effectively discussed. It is therefore essential to create a space for fruitful interaction. Some basic learning points have been observed from the V-LED program, regarding the Who, What, and How3.

2 See more information on V-LED website

3 For further discussions see also M. Andreas. From What to How: Encouraging Dialogue on Municipal Climate Action. In: Huffington Post, 12 August 2015. accessed 06.7.2016 and

M. Andreas, J. Bellali, Common But Differentiated Learning, presentation and input paper for Berlin Conference on Global Environmental Change, 24 May 2016.

Talk with (and not about) the other levels is a basic principle. Adequate means and convening power need to be secured to bring different players to the table. This includes drivers of coordination such as representative of interest groups for example the League of Local Governments in the Philippines. The more challenging part seems to be ensuring interaction and integration from different angles and breaking silos. Inviting 'unusual actors', such as those who don't usually engage with governmental processes, could do this. Bringing such different voice(s) can be tricky and may result in unexpected surprises, while when done in a setting of trust and respect it could also generate moment for clarifying misunderstanding or conducting constructive debate for joint solution. In Kenya, the community organisation, Kwale Country Natural Resource Network, took part in the revision of two important bills that the county government was to adopt- quarrying and solid waste- in which the voices of local communities was shared with county governments.

Each level and segment of the grid seems to have their own mandates, norms and topics of interest, for instance municipalities are concerned with public service delivery while national government with national fiscal balance and target achievement. There is a need to convene around themes or topics that are relevant for all. Firstly, building on the existing and pragmatic institutional day-to-day concerns could help to select such a topic. Furthermore, the organisational culture, the existing type of coordination, the indicators for measuring and rewarding the performance in a particular institution or group will have a great impact on the operational priorities and thus need to be carefully taken into account.

Creating a commonality emanating from diversity is at core of the process. It is needed to create a common space for actors from different levels who usually do not interact on a specific theme. Such space implies a fixed time and location, as well as a certain 'language'. Different people such as urban planners, engineers, economists, financiers, project developers, politicians, and lay people (such as villagers) speak different languages and use different terms. As such, a common space for them is not always easy to be created. Actors need to meet on equal ground; trust, learning and co-creation can emerge and then dialogue may become transformative. The following chapters will provide more in-depth reflections on this.

4. Peer learning: knowledge exchange and co-creation

4.1. Introduction and concept

Now we want to look more closely into the approaches of peer-to-peer learning and inclusive consultation processes. The peer learning process involves individuals exchanging knowledge and experience with each other, and potentially diffusing this learning back to their own organisations to ensure an impact—at scale—on reforming initiatives4. These approaches are increasingly recognised as drivers for effective public policy making and urban planning. Well-designed concepts of knowledge sharing can encourage co-creation among various stakeholders, i.e. public sector institutions, private sector players, professionals and normal citizens. They include the sharing of both positive experiences and of failures to prevent further mistakes. In this context peer learning implies openness for

4 For further definition of peer learning and respective procedures, see also the Effective Institutions Platform (EIP), The EIP Peer-to-Peer Learning Guide, http ://www.

multi-disciplinary learning from all sides with mutual respect. Multi-dimensional feedback loops may encourage institutional changes at national level, inter- and intra-organisational levels [5].

4.2. Case study: OECD Urban Green Growth in Dynamic Asia and Thailand

Starting in 2013 the OECD has developed a special focus on knowledge sharing in the framework of its project 'Urban Green Growth in Dynamic Asia'5. Various steps to promote peer-to-peer learning between Asian cities were undertaken. The objective was to bring major cities who are interested in OECD's diagnostic work on cities and regions together and at the same time facilitate them to jointly learn from various experiences in Asian and western countries. Some main observations and initial lessons learned are summarized here, complimentary to the OECD Report on Green Growth in Bangkok [6], regarding the Who, What, and How6.

As an early participant, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration volunteered for a research study in 2013 on 'resilient cities' with special focus on the burning issue of flooding, in order to review and strengthen its strategy on floods and risk management in the Bangkok Metropolitan Area. Both sides of OECD and the governor and deputy governor of Bangkok, agreed to combine the data-based research with a process on knowledge sharing and peer learning, inviting other cities from Asia, as well as western cities such as Stockholm, Paris, Chicago and Kitakyushu. The process included participants from Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Canada, France, Japan as well as organizations working in the field of development cooperation, including the ADB, UN-Habitat, USAID and the Japan International Co-operation Agency, JICA, and the German International Cooperation Agency GIZ [7].

An interdisciplinary research team at OECD gathered the diagnostics regarding e.g. mobility and traffic, sustainable economic growth, financing of infrastructure, governance for urban green growth etc. These topics were shared and enthusiastically discussed during peer learning sessions and were enriched by useful comments from peer-cities and other actors (local and national government institutions, researchers, civil society, investors etc.). The combination of systematized research data and so-called 'tacit knowledge' from practical expertise generated a special value to the concept of the knowledge sharing exercise. The methods for this policy peer learning were developed and adapted to meet local requirements and local interests of the multiple-actors partnership, with different tasks and professional knowledge. National and city governments, city networks, researchers, and development cooperation experts have all been active participants in the process, which was promoted by the OECD Knowledge Sharing Alliance [8].

5 The website of the Urban Green Growth in Dynamic Asia project,

6 The following description originates from the facilitator of the knowledge sharing methodology in the first workshop on peer learning in Bangkok (August 2014) who is also the author of this chapter.

Figure 4 Example of Policy Peer Learning on Urban Green Growth in Dynamic Asia, Source: co-produced by members of the OECD task team on knowledge sharing, 2014

The knowledge of cities and the various stakeholders is broad and inter-disciplinary (see Figure 4). In designing these co-creative dialogues, one should be aware of the different context of each area and city, but also look for commonalities in the development patterns and possible solutions to overcome frequently observed concerns. In this case of peer learning, the most striking common denominator was the shared preference for a systematic thinking, so as to see synergies in economic, social and environment elements and the cross-border wisdom to new forms of sustainable governance. Some lessons learned: It is important to select topics of mutual interest to the participating cities, have a firm objective while using flexible consultation mechanisms, and to be interested in the synergies between theory and practice.

Pursuing a multi-disciplinary approach is essential. According to OECD urban sustainability must be pursued in all its three dimensions (see Figure 5).

Efficiency Equity Environmental sustainability

Economic policies Sustained growth Green growth Economic reforms ,. . policies can improve may increase equity ..... 1 M 1 sustainability

Social policies Social cohesion can increase efficiency (e.g., trust, security, knowledge) Inequality can be reduced without Social environmental harm cohesion replace fuel subsidies with transfers)

Environmental policies Green growth policies can boost innovation and efficient resource use Environmental degradation tends to Environmental hit disadvantaged sustainability groups more

Figure 5 Matrix for Multi-disciplinary Thematic Areas for Urban Sustainability, Source: OECD (2011) Regional Outlook 2011: Building Resilient Regions for Stronger Economies

After fruitful discussions, in particular on flooding, climate change, and resilience, the following crucial topics were summarized during the peer-learning workshop in Bangkok [9]:

Financing of green growth in sustainable cities: which organisations could best be approached;

• Land use and infrastructure: inclusiveness and flexibility in long-term planning process;

• Economic and social policies: strong collaboration of local governments with private sector; learn from locals on disasters risk management;

• Institutional mechanisms: design outcome-oriented, inclusive co-ordination mechanisms, create joint common visions; evaluate cross-sector plans;

• Capacities: build capacity and knowledge of public officers and foster innovation skills.

The discussion also pointed out the critical importance of involving local communities to enhance Bangkok's resilience to floods. One of the main challenges jointly voiced by many of the Asian cities and the national governments was the question on 'how to engage citizens for green transformation of a city'. How to overcome inequalities that will risk increase of poverty and social unrest? Some lessons learned: the increased engagement of civil society should help bridging conflicts of interest and controversial positions. Continuous multi-stakeholder dialogues and co-creation to support better results in urban and systemically coordinated regional development should be initiated and also institutionalized.

The OECD peer learning had extremely good results in combining workshops with 'field visits' to allow personal impressions of what works and what not as well as interactive dialogues with representatives and practitioners on the ground.

Peer-to-peer dialogues promote mutual respect, trust and openness to share with external players, as well as the ownership of changing the processes in the institutions at home. The better understanding of one's own and other stakeholder's positions also support better coordination between the institutions, as the interest fra gmentation limits policy coherence at different levels as well as in the urban areas. One of the challenges for peer learning on various topics may be the dissemination and implementation of the new approaches and support of further learning, once the participants returning to the day-to-day work. Continuous communication with other institutions and colleagues is needed. Some lessons learned: to enhance implementation at home, an internal coordinated information flow between the administrative bodies attending different peer learning workshops are recommended. The continuous dialogue with the external peer partners can also be strengthened through websites, invitation to provide comments on reports or concept papers, and invitation to smaller local labs and working groups; create a multi-stakeholder platform for continuous exchange; use appropriate transparent monitoring and reporting tools. Local and subnational knowledge should be gathered systematically and used for scaling up the learning at national and international levels.

5. Multi-stakeholder engagement

5.1. Introduction and concept

Multi-stakeholder approach has been highlighted by many researchers and practitioners as an important tool for creating joint vision and action plan among different players, as well as getting suggestions or feedbacks for certain policies, measures or plans.

Here is a list of stakeholders to consider: government agencies and authorities, public institutions, business and companies, financial sector, civil society organisations, academic and research institutions, concerned citizens, etc.

5.2. Case study: Climate Dialogue project in Germany

K. Fischer et al [10] have presented observations from the Climate Dialogue project ('Klimaschutzdialog' KSD in German) from 2013 to 2015, which is part of the German National Climate Initiative (NKI). The NKI supported some 19,000-greenhouse gas emissions reduction projects and the KSD project brought the stakeholders across these projects together. The KSD also culminated in a German contribution to support local climate action in the UNFCCC conference in Paris- the Hanover Declaration7, which emerged out of the International Conference on Climate Action (ICCA2015).

As any political process, climate action is subject to the interests and ambitions of diverse stakeholders. Four main categories of these can be distinguished: the political sphere, the administration, civil society, and local economy. Different 'coalitions of the willing' emerged from these four sectors in the ten municipalities interviewed by the KSD project. Sometimes it is civil society and politicians that convince the administration; sometimes it is the administration that convinces politicians; or strong business leaders collaborate with administration, ultimately forcing politicians to follow. It is clear, however, that without committed change agents from each sector, projects remain isolated and not embedded in a comprehensive action plan or a consciously designed transformation process.

Based on Climate Action Plans, NKI-funded local climate protection managers support municipalities to successfully implement measures. The job requirements for these change agents are considerable and multi-disciplinary. Professional backgrounds of CPMs are just as diverse, ranging from civil engineering, architecture, and spatial planning, to construction or geography. In such context, the Change Agent Training course implemented under the KSD project conveyed further necessary skills in multi-stakeholder mobilisation and management. Developed by IFEU Heidelberg, trainings have been held in northern, central and southern Germany since January 2013.

Trust is critical in multi-stakeholder processes. An interesting example is the abovementioned ICCA2015, which took place in October 2015 in Hanover. In the evening of the first day, climate activists came from the neighbouring (un) conference to demonstrate in the halls of the conference venue. They were welcomed by the Lower Saxonian Ministry for Environment and the evening ended in a common conga line with participants of the conference. On the second day, German Environmental Minister Dr. Barbara Hendricks joined in chopping vegetables and welcomed founder of the bottom up citizen initiative Transition Town Movement Mr. Rob Hopkins on the stage. These dialogical incidents were only partly planned and generally inspired by the atmosphere of the conference, indicating the power of participation, which leads to ownership - and eventually trust. The KSD is one of many examples, how these qualities can be fostered.

6. Specific context and challenges for urban villages in China

Chinese cities and regions have their own characteristics and taking research or projects from other cities or countries into account can be helpful in the search for solutions for governance challenges in China, which then serve as possible lessons learned for future transformation elsewhere. An OECD report on urban and regional development [11] found that cities boost prosperity if they are well organized, and city governance needs to be reevaluated. However, also in western fast growing cities and regions, 'the system is outdated', as many administrative boundaries no longer reflect historical settlement patterns and socio-political realities are no longer relevant to today's world. The cities in OECD countries should therefore inter alia reduce fragmentation in governance to boost productivity and increase citizen satisfaction [12]. Public engagement in urban policy planning also helps to improve

7 The website of the International Conference on Climate Action: Local Governments Driving Transformation (ICCA2015) features the Hannover Declaration:

the quality and efficiency of public policy and may provide valuable orientation about the visions and needs of the people concerned [13].

As the largest developing country in the world, China has experienced rapid urbanisation over the last four decades. The proportion of the overall population living in cities has grown since the beginning of the policy of reform and opening up in 1978 from about only 17 percent to around 52 percent in 2012 [14], when it was the first time that it became an urban country (more people living in urban than in rural area) officially. By the end of 2015, China had a total urban population of 771 million or 56.1% of the entire population. Such rapid urbanization has transformed the spatial and social landscapes of Chinese cities, creating a new set of urban conflicts over identity, development, environment and inclusion [15]. While the intensification of developmental is a top priority at regional, provincial and national levels of government, the extent to which such accumulation unfolds in a geographically uneven way further complicates the nature of urban conflicts in China. The resulting discontent among local communities, particularly among growing separatist movements in the targeted development areas, has led to numerous cases of protest and a series of self-immolations in the region.

According to Z.D. Huang, M.Q. Zhan, H.B. Shin [16], urban villages in Chinese cities take on complex spatial, socio-economic and environmental features. They vary across regions and cities and also between inside and outside a same city. They also introduced several urban planning tools such as laser scanning, 3D model, and mapping, which are helpful to provide more measurable data and more detailed result for planning the urban villages' development along the planning of the cities.

The redevelopment of urban villages needs to take into account political and social factors as well as the bigger picture of China's urban transformation. It is important to identify more equitable and sustainable design and policy solutions to improve the lives of both migrant tenants and villagers. This would require a better understanding of the mechanisms of urban informality and a more inclusive approach to urban governance [17].

Building on the case studies and literatures of the concepts and tools we presented above, we think that these governance related tools should be combined with the urban planning technical tools such as laser scanning and 3D mapping (which are partially used in some of the urban villages) in China. The combination of these approaches should happen at different levels, targeting both policy and practical solutions. The complexity and diversity of the situations on the ground may also require tailor-made combination of tools as well as a continuous reflection and reviving of the approach.

Here some questions are particular relevant and answering them may only be possible in a multi-stakeholder consultation process: How to deal with conflicts of interest, in particular with peoples' displacements which can be seen as synonymous with fast urban development, frustration with inadequate compensation, the refusals to leave own properties and relocate, or claims to the rights of subsistence (with historic roots) and demand for distributional justice [18].

China has already undertaken a variety of initiatives in terms of urban planning, cities design and urban management at both national and local level. For example, in collaboration with the World Bank, China has created a virtual learning module to catalyze solutions for better urban management. Chinese cities are also taking part of existing international urban networks such as C40 and ICLEI8. Yet, the institutional factors leading to problems of urban villages e.g. dual land ownership and the household registration still need to be tackled in a systemic way to avoid future conflicts.

8 Here are the website of these networks for more information: and

7. Suggestions and conclusion

Inclusive policy making by governments at the local, regional and national levels is essential.

As explained in the case studies, multi-stakeholder dialogue and mutual learning are essential for sustainable and resilient urbanization. In times of growing inequality especially in the cities and the regions such as those in China, the concepts of social inclusion and promotion of positive economic outcomes for all are of particular significance. With fast urbanization, a new set of urban conflicts over identity, development and inclusion are emerging across the country. And people become more and more aware of their rights [19]. In face of the conflicts of interest and various challenges for the governance, facilitation processes are needed. To prevent those conflicts, transparent planning mechanisms, e.g. land use planning for future cities, districts or new township are needed, that would help the government bodies, planning experts, private investors and concerned or relevant citizen to collaborate in order to achieve sustainable transition, social safety and avoid social clashes.

Local consultation processes, various strategic planning and land use planning tools lead to a more effective and sustainable planning and urban development.

Methods for public consultations may vary according to the situation. One may use independent facilitator(s) especially in case of conflicts and diversity of interests; or government official(s) at the higher or same level of administration may play such a role. In any case, an important factor is to ensure the capability and the responsiveness of these facilitators.

The tool of 'strategic planning' is a combination of data-based more technical planning procedures and the multi-stakeholder consultation processes. The approach is to understand urban planning as a dynamic process. Participation of citizens is crucial to the urban strategic planning process in order to guarantee its effectiveness. Inclusive and flexible planning requires responsiveness to different peoples' needs and to new requirements such as new economic opportunities, social changes and migration. These are under discussion lately between academics and experts in international organizations, in order to enhance the sustainability of urbanization [20].

A.W. Drescher [21] recommends further practical tools for land use planning such as dynamic structural planning, which provides a broad framework for local decision-making, thereby encouraging public participation. Tools like GIS (normally a rather centralized tool) can be combined with Situation Analysis and Need and Vision Analysis, in co-operation with local communities. Community Maps can help to visualize the situation and views of the local communities, e.g. also in case of actual land use and land use conflicts; the quality of soil and water, and sources of pollution; or access to resources. Community participation in the design of master plans or strategic plans is essential, and according land tenure and land-use arrangements are critical with respect to sustainability [22]. There should not be a new euphoria on strategic planning either, and it is important to consider broad contextual differences, the conduct of planners and specific institutional settings [23].

National strategies on urban development, when set up properly, provide frameworks for efficient and sustainable urban development. Local development should feed into the national strategies and vice-versa.

Today, not all countries have established national strategies for urban development. These strategies need to be transparent and well implemented. The lack of national strategies can be to the detriment of longer-term economic frameworks and local social security. Local and national policies need to take care of all members of society, in particular the most vulnerable or disadvantages, such as the poor, the elderly, the children, migrants, disabled or less educated labors etc. Poorer inhabitants tend to become the 'losers' of a transition phase. They are easily expelled, losing their homes or - due to rising house prices and costly road systems - need to move in settlements far from the centers where they work. In case of immense new buildings and new urban and national infrastructure, investment in modern highways and air ports, the administration should regulate these developments, and thereby prevent the

isolation of the poor, take care of additional public transport, provide access to affordable housing, to health services and education for all. National strategies for urbanization provide the framework for these elements of forward-looking public policies. In addition, the experiences at local level, i.e. good practices and lessons learned, should systematically feed into the development of such national urban development strategies.

Collaborative innovation could be achieved through scenario and visioning processes.

Aligning diverse interests and empowering actors to collaborate towards better futures benefit from a process of learning - a process that opens a safe space for potential conflict to be resolved rather than pursues a rush to consensus. As Wilkinson mentioned, the imperative is not to fix a problem that has been inherited from the past but to clarify and transform future possibilities in order to overcome inertia and sustain more and more effective collaborative action [24]. Large-scale societal and political changes can be enabled via open and collaborative innovation processes in which diverse interests interact to co-create the future. These social learning processes do not claim to know about the future but instead call for learning with alternative futures to become more agile and adaptive.

China's experiences in searching for solutions to its own urban governance questions such as the specific case of the urban villages are of great significance to its own future, and meanwhile also for broader global community and process.

China's efforts in bringing the right policies for urbanization and its efforts in proper development of the urban villages are essential for the future of the whole country in economic, social and ecological terms.

In the urban age, learning for the future of cities' governance is indispensable in all sites and continents. The fragmented system in many places around the world is also seen as inefficient, as fragmentation puts a brake on growth and therefore needs to be reformed. Preparing for the future of the fast growing cities in developing countries are complex tasks, which cannot be taken on alone either by city authorities or by national governments [25]. Thus, given its scope and complexity, the knowledge and experience in China is also of high interest for global audiences and can serve as China's contribution to international processes such as the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development [26] and the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, Habitat III [27], to be held in Quito, Ecuador, on 17-20 October 20169.

Despite of different stages and situations of economic development in different countries, the division between 'the developed and developing countries' need to be updated in the time of the 'universality of development' proclaimed by the Agenda 2030. Examples shown in this paper conclude that some approaches do have similar characteristics. In particular, China presents the reality of both sides, as it has both highly developed and underdeveloped areas. Public policies aiming at continuously reducing local economic conflicts, environmental risks as well as societal inequalities also contribute to the internationally agreed goals and 'New Urban Agenda' development [28], not at least on urban development and the present conflicts in urban village.


The authors would express appreciation to the support of adelphi colleagues Marcus Andreas, Johara Bellali and Kaj Fischer. Their insights and inputs were invaluable to the competition of this research paper. We also express our appreciation to Tadashi Matsumoto and Loic Daudey, OECD, who conducted the 'Urban Green Growth in Dynamic Asia' project, by using the collaborative tools of knowledge sharing and peer learning with Asian partners.

9 Habitat III aims to reinvigorate the global commitment to sustainable urban development with a 'New Urban Agenda'. Habitat III will be the first major global conference since the 2030 Agenda entered into force in January 2016, and will offer an opportunity to discuss the opportunities that urbanization brings to the implementation and achievement of the SDGs (UN 2016).


[1] H.B. Shin, Development and dissent in China's 'urban age', February 2013, accessed 06.7.2016.

[2] M. Hemmati, F. Rogers.Multi-Stakeholder Engagement and Communications for Sustainability: Beyond Sweet-Talk and Blanket Criticism -Towards Successful Implementation, CatalySD Sustainability, June 2015.

[3] M. Jaenicke, Accelerators of Global Energy Transition: Horizontal and Vertical Reinforcement in Multi-Level Climate Governance, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), Working Paper, December 2013. accessed 06.7.2016

[4] United Nations Development Program, Qayum S et al., A Guidebook for Establishing a Multi-Stakeholder Decision-Making Process to Support Green, Low-Emission and Climate-Resilient Development Strategies, Connelly C editor.2012 accessed 06.7.2016.

[5] OECD, OECD Regional Outlook 2014 Regions and Cities: Where Policies and People Meet, 2014, OECD Publishing, Paris accessed 11.07.2016.

[6] OECD, Green Growth in Bangkok, Thailand, OECD Green Growth Studies, OECD Publishing, Paris, 2015. accessed 07.7.2016.

[7] Ibid.

[8] OECD, Urban Green Growth in Dynamic Asia: A Conceptual Framework, 2014 accessed 07.7.2016.

[9] Kampmann M, Key note speech for CDIA workshop, Manila, Philippines 2014.

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[19] Ibd.

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[22] Ibid.

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[24] A. Wilkinson et al, Article 'Collaborative Futures: Integrating Foresight with Design in Large Scale Innovation Processes-Seeing and Seeding the Futures of Europe' in: Journal of Futures Studies, June 2014, 18(4): 1-26.

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[28] UN Habitat III Issue Paper 1 Inclusive Cities, May 2015, accessed 14.07.2016.