European and Asian Sustainable Towns

New Towns and Satellite Cities in their Metropolises

by Pascaline Gaborit (Volume editor)
©2014 Edited Collection 262 Pages


In the face of growing needs and problems around urbanization, the sustainable development of cities does not lie only in technology, research and innovation. Sustainable local development also results from a combination of different elements related to the development of social cohesion, the local economy, the environment and culture; also, crucially, it depends on the autonomy of local authorities and the adoption of the most appropriate system of governance. In addition, the urgent need to create better and more liveable cities is now inextricably linked with the integration of environmental principles, in order to prevent the waste of resources and mitigate climate change by restricting CO2 emissions. Within this framework, new strategies have been implemented for the development of ‘New Towns’ or satellite cities.
This publication gathers together contributions from different experts involved in the EAST (Euro Asia Sustainable Towns) project. The contributors originate from India, China, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, the United States and France, and come from a variety of different backgrounds, including academic researchers, urban planners, architects, political scientists and practitioners.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Forewords
  • Introduction
  • Urban ingredients and formulas for Euro Asia Sustainable Towns (EAST)
  • New Towns in China and India: Urban Promises or Urban Headaches?
  • From the New Town to the Sustainable Town: a New Form of Governance
  • How Can we Move on from “Machinism”? The European Search for Alternative Urban Models
  • Shaping Resilient Cities in China, India and the United States
  • Plates
  • India
  • China
  • Luodian New Town: the Cooperation between the Government and the Market
  • India: New Towns Planning, Challenges for Urban Areas
  • From New Towns to Special Economic Zones: Issues Related to Greenfield Urban Development in India
  • Managing Water in the Land of the Asian Monsoons: a Planning Alternative for Naya Raipur, India
  • Municipal Solid Waste Management – Implementing Best Practices in Europe & Asia
  • Integrate Industry within the City
  • Honoré van Rijswijk
  • Authors


Johannes Hahn

Member of the European Commission in charge of Regional Policy February 2010 – February 2014


We all know the importance of cities in Europe and in the rest of the world. Given the right conditions, cities are where most innovation takes place, where the economy grows, where jobs are created, where we can best fight climate change, where scarce resources can be used with greatest efficiency. Cities are where the opportunities lie for a more sustainable future. Without them we will not reach our European goals in terms of smart sustainable and inclusive growth. This goes for all cities, in Europe as in Asia.

The European Union’s Cohesion Policy has played a crucial role over the past 25 years in helping regions and cities to compete in the European Single Market and to catch up with more prosperous areas or to restructure their economies away from declining activities and develop new opportunities. This will be reinforced as we head towards the year 2020 with a new Cohesion framework that includes a greatly strengthened urban policy dimension. While this will be the foundation, we can do even more for our cities: by ensuring that the various EU policies that have an impact on our cities, for instance in research, transport, energy or culture, are well coordinated in order to provide a joined-up, integrated approach and by encouraging the European, national, regional and local authorities to work with and support each other in an effective multi-level governance system.

Developing an integrated, place-based policy is not simple. But the EU has gained considerable experience in this matter, which has increasingly attracted the attention of key actors in countries outside Europe, notably in India as well as in China where the Commission established a regional and urban policy dialogue in 2006.

The sharing of good practice and success stories between one region of the world and another is an effective way to promote better and more ← 9 | 10 → effective policy. Cities in Europe and in Asia are a laboratory in which much of our future will be designed. This is why the EAST project is so important. It shows that experience from European cities is transferable to Asian cities and vice versa for the benefit of all.

I hope that you will find this work inspiring and I look forward to enlarging the dialogue with cities outside Europe in the future.


Gerhard Stahl

Secretary General, Committee of the Regions April 2004 – April 2014


Urbanization and sustainable development are inextricably linked. In both Europe and Asia cities are the places which bring together the major opportunities and challenges for a more sustainable development path.

Today over half the world’s population lives in urban areas. In Europe the urbanization rate is 72% and still growing. By the year 2050 the world’s urban population is expected to increase by 2.6 billion. Most of this growth will be concentrated in Asia and Africa. Asia, in particular, is projected to see its urban population increase by 1.4 billion.

Cities are generators of innovation and economic growth and, thanks to agglomeration effects and positive externalities, capital cities and larger metropolitan regions generally have superior economic performance. Metropolitan regions account for 59% of Europe’s population but generate 67% of its GDP. However, cities also have the highest rates of unemployment and poverty and many are characterised by growing levels of social exclusion, segregation and marginalisation. And while cities have major potential to contribute to the reduction of energy consumption and CO2 emissions (because compactness and population density permit more energy efficient forms of housing and transport), uncontrolled urban sprawl has hugely negative implications for the environment and resource efficiency. ← 10 | 11 →

Europe needs its cities to reach its Europe 2020 strategy objectives of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. In particular, Europe’s global competitiveness depends on its cities. The task of realising their economic and job-creation potential and confronting the complex societal challenges they face demands that Europe’s cities work in close cooperation with other levels of government, the private sector and civil society. Developing a well-articulated multi-level governance framework is therefore crucial. So also is a more integrated territorial approach in which sectoral policies are developed and adapted taking account of cities’ needs and potentialities. And cities cannot be successfully developed in isolation or solely within the confines of administrative boundaries; policy must recognise the interdependence of cities and their surrounding areas and address the needs of functional urban regions. Above all what is important is good local governance, based on the key principles of democracy, transparency, accountability and citizen participation.

Principles such as multi-level governance, policy integration, functional orientation and local democracy are equally relevant for urban development in Asia. Cities have much to gain by sharing their experiences and good practices and EU policy provides important supports to help them do so, including also with their counterparts in Asia. The dynamic pace of urbanization in Asia is driving profound socio-economic change and creating more prosperity as well as huge environmental challenges. The European approach to sustainable urban development can be shared to the advantage of Asia’s cities.

As the representative political assembly for Europe’s regions and cities, the Committee of the Regions has contributed actively to political debate at EU level on urban policy issues, including in the context of the most recent reform of cohesion policy which introduces a number of important new features concerning cities. The Committee of the Regions is also an active participant in the EU-China Urbanization Partnership Forum. I was personally very pleased to be part of the CoR delegation to the most recent forum in Beijing in November 2013. On that occasion, and during other conferences in which I have participated in recent years, I witnessed at first hand the breathtaking pace of China’s urbanization. I am convinced that Europe’s rich experience of urban development has much to offer and that closer decentralized cooperation between Asia and Europe, building on initiatives such as the EU-China Mayors’ Forum, can be very beneficial for the sustainable development of Asia’s cities.

Together let us make progress towards a more harmonious society and build our common future. ← 11 | 12 →


← 12 | 13 →


Faced with urbanization needs and growing urbanization problems, the sustainable development of cities does not only lay in technics, research and innovation…It results from the combination and mixture of different ingredients related to social cohesion, local economy, environment, culture, but also the autonomy of local authorities and the adoption of the most appropriate system of governance.

The urgent need to create better and liveable places is now essentially linked with the integration of environmental principles to prevent the waste of resources and to mitigate climate change by restricting CO2 emissions. This concern for environment is now immediate and existing in all areas linked to cities planning, management, as well as within local public policies that try to integrate the different elements for the creation of better and more sustainable places.

The development of new districts or satellite cities in metropolises is perceived as an attempted solution to provide better homes, answer to housing needs and to solve urban traffic congestion. In the creation of new areas or towns however, the pace of construction and decision making is quicker than elsewhere. As pilot experiments occur, in order to find solutions for the difficult challenges of creating a more liveable place, the problems are also concentrated (quick construction of housing areas without always taking into account architectural, environmental, and user friendly elements). The difficulties are also reflected in the different challenges in terms of service provision, financing of operations, possible zoning of areas to urbanize, as well as image and identity of the place.

Indeed new urban developments are not only paradise islands for urban planners and engineers to work on new models, these areas also question all aspects of sustainable development: resources and location, communities and social cohesion, culture and local employment. Moreover, once they are designed following a master plan approach, it is eventually difficult to modify, update and change the plans to integrate for instance better environment friendly principles… In new developed areas, the risks of failure are also gigantic and need to be taken into account…the failure of new districts and towns may result in the creation of ghost towns and empty cities where the inhabitants would not live… ← 13 | 14 →

These questions of new districts and satellite cities are now immediate in China and India where the urbanization is extraordinary due to rural migrations and the pressure on cities to expand and provide housing as well as facilities for inhabitants and citizens without raising too many inequities in terms of health, employment and access to local services.

This is why the EAST project, a project co-financed by the European Commission, tries to develop exchanges and create bridges among local authorities in Europe (Basildon), India (city of Naya Raipur) and in China (Lake Dianshan or Qingpu and Baoshan) in the surrounding areas of Shanghai, with the coordination of the ENTP (European New Towns and Pilot Cities Platform) as lead partner.

The project’s activities were reflected in the organization of several panels of experts, regular exchanges among the partners, studies, the development of expertise, reports and guides of good practices. In general, it included different forums of exchanges on sustainable development like forums on sustainable urbanization occurring especially in Europe and China but also in India.

There were different key points, remarks and findings illustrated in the different project’s exchanges:

1. Cities operation (operation of renewal but also designing cities) should not be done for the sake of success of financial or real estate operations but for the people and inhabitants. Indeed, behind the technics lies a foundation: the current population and the population to come.

2. In the new districts’ development there needs to be a balance between the different stakeholders: the public sector, the people (remaining at the central place) and the private sector in combination with the respect of environment and the post Millennium Development Goals. The public sector needs an articulation between the national, provincial and local levels (the latter being the closest from the citizens). The public has targets and needs funds (this is why there are actions on land sales and development, but acts in a context of scarcity of resources). The private sector needs profit, return on investment and to face the risks of failure, with a balance between the short and long term.

The articulation and balance between the stakeholders is therefore neither obvious nor easy to achieve. The main challenge is how to find a balance between these interests in creating rules and space for negotiation, while minimizing conflicts and respecting higher goals (environment, people, culture, health, etc.). ← 14 | 15 →

3. The autonomy of local authorities is important: indeed local authorities are at the crossroads between national interests and peoples’ needs.

4. Environment is key but should not overshadow people’s needs. In the example of slums and informal housing, CO2 emissions per inhabitant are very low but other indicators such as people’s health, education, access to employment and drinkable water show that this is no future for what we call “sustainable development” in very general terms. On the contrary, when environment is a common concern among the different stakeholders, it reaches better chances of success (for instance in the energy sector: the public, private, and civil society sector can join forces as there is a common interest compatible with profit).

5. The question of city metabolism can seem abstract, except if you look at food supply chains, but also waste management. As mentioned in the article by Maximilian Rech, China’s municipal waste management is equivalent to 0.98 Kg/day (versus 1.64 in Germany), but incineration and recycling can also produce energy (as well as pollution and food intoxication with dioxins). Research shows that there is a need to reduce waste, improve recycling and source separation. Another suggestion is to integrate better climate into urban planning strategy (for instance planning in a Monsoon climate environment should integrate a better system of water collection as developed by Alpa Nawre later in this publication).


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2014 (July)
Quartiere Gated Communities Metro The European Search for Alternative Urban Models New Towns in China and India. Urban Promises or Urban Headaches? Urban Ingredients and Formulas for European and Asian Sustainable Towns (EAST)
Bruxelles, Bern, Berlin, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2014. 262 pp., 89 ill., 5 tables

Biographical notes

Pascaline Gaborit (Volume editor)

Pascaline Gaborit has more than ten years of experience working with local authorities, experts and research centres as director of the ENTP (European New Towns and Pilot Cities) Platform. She coordinates exchanges, events, panels and projects, as well as giving occasional lectures. She is the author of several books and reports, and advocates cooperation and exchange between local authorities, experts and researchers.


Title: European and Asian Sustainable Towns
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274 pages