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These policy briefs look in detail at innovative approaches Chinese cities have adopted to meet the challenges presented by urbanisation and climate change. They explore what contributions improving energy efficiency and bike-sharing schemes in Shanghai and nature-based adaptation initiatives in Wuhan have made towards more sustainable and liveable cities.

These briefs are part of a series on frontrunning climate actions around the world. The series aims to strengthen the evidence on the economic and social implications of low-carbon, climate-resilient urban development, highlighting the preconditions for the successful design and delivery of urban climate action, as well as outlining national policy recommendations that could enhance the initiatives’ impact. All publications published in the series so far are available here.

Building Climate Resilience and Water Security in Cities: Lessons from the Sponge City of Wuhan, China

The vulnerability of Chinese cities to water-related disasters is being exacerbated by climate change. To counter the effects of flooding, water scarcity and water pollution, the government has been trialling innovative green solutions. This policy brief looks at how the “Sponge City” approach has been implemented in Wuhan.

Towards Sustainable Mobility and Improved Public Health: Lessons from bike sharing in Shanghai, China

Reliable, affordable and safe transport is key to making cities sustainable. At present, however, many cities are beset by congestion, inadequate connectivity, wasted public space and poor air quality. This policy brief presents lessons from Shanghai, where the world’s largest bicycle-sharing scheme has been implemented to address the challenges presented by inadequate current transport networks and climate change.

Improving Energy Efficiency for All: Lessons on sustainable building retrofits from Shanghai, China

Improving the energy efficiency of existing buildings is a critical part of action on climate change. Retrofitting in particular provides benefits to the economy, the environment and society, as well as making significant reductions to operational greenhouse gas emissions. This policy brief looks in detail at the impact of retrofitting schemes adopted in Changning District, Shanghai, China, and highlights ways other cities can learn from Shanghai’s experience.