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Performance and dilemmas of urban containment strategies in the transformation context of Beijing


  • Pengjun Zhao
  • Bin Lu
  • Gert Roo


The implementation of urban containment policies is increasingly attracting attention in environment management. Rapid urban growth and the coexistence of decentralisation and marketisation challenge containment strategies that are implemented to control urban sprawl. This challenge is likely to be greater in a transformation country than in developed countries. This paper evaluates the performance of containment strategies in Beijing. The analysis shows that, to a large extent, containment strategies perform well; however, the decreased compactness of the fringes of the inter-suburban areas, caused by dispersed and illegal development, suggest that municipal containment strategies are being challenged by new trends towards local autonomy. Two similar dilemmas to those faced by developed countries are confronting those involved in the implementation of containment strategies in the current transformation process in Beijing: first, the municipal environmental goal might not be achieved by all local jurisdictions when local economic motivations are involved; and second, macro-scale containment policies are unlikely to control an urban sprawl fuelled by the growing power of market forces.

Suggested Citation

  • Pengjun Zhao & Bin Lu & Gert Roo, 2010. "Performance and dilemmas of urban containment strategies in the transformation context of Beijing," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(2), pages 143-161.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jenpmg:v:53:y:2010:i:2:p:143-161 DOI: 10.1080/09640560903529097

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    Cited by:

    1. Taiyang Zhong & Xianjin Huang & Lifang Ye & Steffanie Scott, 2014. "The Impacts on Illegal Farmland Conversion of Adopting Remote Sensing Technology for Land Inspection in China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(7), pages 1-26, July.
    2. Zhao, Pengjun, 2013. "The implications of and institutional barriers to compact land development for transportation: Evidence from Bejing," The Journal of Transport and Land Use, Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota, vol. 6(3), pages 29-42.


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