Universiteit Leiden

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Smart Industrial Parks in China: towards Joint Design and Institutionalization

How to contribute to a quantum leap of eco-industrial symbiosis in China?

2015  -   2018
Mingming Hu


The partners in this project are:

Short abstract

Smart industrial parks (SIP) are essential elements of the smart, low-carbon city. Spatially, industrial symbiosis, and industrial and urban symbiosis, can enhance the interaction of industries that could optimize the material/energy flows, reduce resource consumptions and emissions, and coordinate the interaction between industries and urban. The SIP project aims at a significant reduction of energy use via industrial symbiosis.

Project description

Some one hundred eco-industrial parks are presently being designed in China but as it shows in practice, industries often face great difficulties to really act upon the great potentials of symbiosis. These challenges comprise the technological systems to maximize the benefits of collaboration, but to a large extent also questions of institutionalization; entering into symbiotic systems implies that industries become dependent on each other and will have to co-manage collectively owned structures, e.g. smart grids or seasonal heat/cold storage. 

The SIP project aims to contribute significantly to a quantum leap of eco-industrial symbiosis in China. It will address the technological issues, e.g. creating a readily accessible insight in technological options (company and collective level) and generic models to translate these into environmental and economic net benefits. Drawing on general theory, European and Chinese experiences, the project will address the institutionalization issues through the development of actor-based models for the willingness, capacities and key issues for establishing the collective SIP institutions, focusing on incentive structures, trust building, risk management, shared knowledge and the design of locally grafted rules in their broader regulatory contexts.  The SIPs project will ground this in Chinese realities not only through interviews and suchlike empirical methods but also through two case studies of collaborative SIP design in which industrial stakeholders, local government and researchers work together to explore the local options, challenges and solutions.

The SIPs project engages twenty researchers in a consortium led by the universities of Chongqing, Leiden, Tsinghua and Rotterdam and also drawing in other researchers from China and the Netherlands.


The overall methodology of the project is visible in its PERT Chart, which specifies the Work Packages and the general data flow along an overall timeline.


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