Assessing Environmental Attitudes under China's Accelerating Ecological Civilization: A Case of the Urban Green Infrastructure Project in Zhangjiagang Bay

Jing Lu*, Yunqing Xu, Jinjian Zhu, Ana Hernando

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The planning and management of urban green infrastructure (UGI) are at the forefront of global biodiversity conservation. Building an environmental consensus rooted in environmental ethics and values is pivotal to the lasting success of UGI projects. Reflecting the specific classification into ecocentrism-anthropocentrism and Kellert's typologies and the theoretical connections between environmental ethics and ecological civilization, this study upgrades the adapted ecocentric and anthropocentric attitude toward the environment (AEA) scale accordingly to assess environmental attitudes and applies it in a survey of the main stakeholders involved in Zhangjiagang Bay Eco-Park, an ecological restoration project in China included in the UN's sustainable development goals (SDGs) Good Practice list. The paper unveils the diverse hidden value patterns of stakeholders and suggests new measures for sustainable UGI management. The authors argue that the AEA scale adapted and tested in this study connects well with the theories of environmental philosophy and is proven with good reliability, strong explanatory power, and potential value for UGI planning and management. Practical Applications In the policy-driven fields of urban practice, consensus building is one of the most important but, at the same time, most difficult processes to achieve. Without a good understanding of the diverse environmental perspectives of stakeholders, urban planning projects often die prematurely or gradually fade out due to unsustainable implementation or management in the long run. Drawing from the theoretical progress in environmental ethics, the authors adapted an AEA scale with two-tiered subscales that could indicate the general orientation on the spectrum of anthropocentric to ecocentric attitudes and reveal the specific motivations behind behaviors for better practical policy implications. The results of this case study indicate an overall weak-anthropocentric orientation and, more specifically, show the internal value conflicts of local officials and the significance of naturalistic and moralistic perspectives for the public. This study also pinpoints the value and urgency of ongoing environmental education on important ecological issues to enable the public to genuinely embrace the policy of ecological civilization that is currently imposed from the top down. With its strong power to explain value orientation, this AEA scale could be used to facilitate stakeholder participation from the bottom up and a process of crafting and communicating urban planning and management policies while building consensus.

Original languageEnglish
Article number05023041
JournalJournal of Urban Planning and Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023


  • Anthropocentrism
  • Ecocentrism
  • Environmental ethics
  • Kellert typology
  • Urban green infrastructure
  • Urban planning and management


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