Green Roof as a widely recognized sustainable urban technology at the city-scale has been promoted in Beijing, China for 30 years. In terms of recognizing, researching and analysing its environmental and economic benefits, Beijing has resorted to various media for promoting Green Roof and has established specific policies to support its development. Two major research aims of the thesis are: (1) to demonstrate the existing knowledge of Green Roof development, urban governance for sustainability and their performances in the neoliberal era; and (2) to explore how the urban policy arrangement can shape the urban governance for sustainability and remain itself a sustainable mechanism.
This research focuses on policy arrangements for Green Roof development in Beijing and on the city’s urban governance for sustainability through policy analysis, media analysis and social perceptions analysis. The term “Neoliberalism with Chinese Characteristics” is employed throughout the thesis in guiding the understanding the power flow and relationships between urban governance for sustainability and sustainable urban governance. Two research methods are employed in this research: critical discourse analysis is adopted to analyse Green Roof policy documents and the coverage of this issue by five key newspapers over a ten year time period from 2001 to 2010. Meanwhile, social perceptions have been revealed through Q methodology, which is a research approach that can reveal an individual’s perceptions through both quantitative and qualitative analyses.
Research findings of media discourses and social perceptions are merged with a policy arrangement approach to reveal connections among four elements: discourse, coalitions, resources and rules. The policy arrangement uncovers insights into the Green Roof development debate and highlights future opportunities for Beijing, with varying potential for implementation in other cities in China and around the world. This study argues that the urban governance for sustainability relies on a shared and strong political initiative that has to be embedded in the government, the public and other stakeholders. It is not necessarily sustainable governance in the short term but will seek its sustainable path through balancing various stakeholders’ interests in the future.