Embracing integrated watershed revitalization in Suzhou, China: learning from global case studies

Joon Sik Kim*, Peter W.J. Batey, Yanting Fan, Sheng Zhong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Suzhou is China’s historic water town, and a sustainable approach to watershed revitalization is firmly on the agenda. The practice of integrated watershed management requires collaborative planning involving a significant number of stakeholders; no single organization can solve the problems of ecosystem management unilaterally. The changing social–political environment in China has led to the development of a new form of governance. China is in transition from the traditional government image of a regulator and a controller towards an enabler that facilitates provision and action by, and through, others. Global case studies show that sustainability issues are essential to tackling watershed ecosystem management by creating a win–win strategy for wider stakeholders. Viewed from an institutional perspective, the emergence of a new collaborative partnership model requires a different implementation process to tackle practical problems in the face of complex watershed agendas. Drawing upon global and China’s experiences, the paper concludes that some planning processes require government leadership continuity, while others need bottom–up approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)565-595
Number of pages31
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Regional Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • China governance
  • Collaborative planning
  • Partnership
  • Sustainability
  • Watershed management


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