Confucian ecological vision and the Chinese eco-city
Cities: the international journal of urban policy and planning
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives License (CC-BY-NC-ND)
Reason for embargo
Temporary embargo required due to publisher policy.
“Living in harmony with nature” is the slogan of the Chinese government’s campaign against the environmental crisis and has become the target of many mega eco-city projects which have emerged in China during the last decade. A number of papers in Chinese journals attribute this slogan to the government’s revival of the Confucian ecological vision, combined with western technology. This paper first compares the concept of nature in these mega eco-cities and the Confucian concept of tianrenheyi, the unity of Heaven and Humanity, suggesting that the human–nature relationship in eco-cities is essentially a consumer–commodity relationship, which is void of the sacredness or moral association of the human–nature relationship in the unity of Heaven and Humanity. Secondly, drawing on the theory of ecology and interconnected systems and noting that the failure of eco-city projects lies in the separation of the eco-city from the city itself, I suggest that the eco-city’s approach of taking nature as a guinea pig of technology in a “vacuum space” is quite opposite to the Confucian idea of the unity of Heaven and Humanity which emphasizes the interconnectedness of all inorganic and organic forms. In conclusion, I evoke Wang Shu’s practice of sustainable architecture to illustrate a more authentic, up-to-date interpretation of the Confucian ecological vision—investigating the relational reality, developing one’s moral nature and cultural intuition.
European Commission’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme
University of Exeter-Tsinghua University Fellowship
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Author's accepted version deposited in accordance with SHERPA RoMEO guidelines. The definitive version is available at doi:10.1016/j.cities.2015.03.004.
Vol. 45, pp. 142 - 147