Transformative City

Sustainable and energy-efficient urban renewal is a key goal of sustainable urban transformation in both Chinese and German cities.  

Traditionally, urban renewal programmes focus on neighbourhoods in inner city districts, and the upgrading of the urban fabric. This includes major renovation of buildings and districts to enhance their livability and energy performance, improvement or implementation of public and green infrastructure, and the elimination of urban design flaws of the past.  

Policies for urban renewal in China have undergone significant changes since the 2000s, with the priority shifting from the speed of urbanization to the quality of urban life, the urbanization rate having risen from 10% in 1949 to nearly 60% in 2019.

In July 2020, the General Office of the State Council issued the “Guidelines on comprehensively promoting the renovation of old urban residential areas”. These guidelines aim at incorporating both local participations to adjust measures to residents’ needs and calls for a diversity in measures to adjust them to local needs. In addition, climate change adaptation and mitigation were put in the focus for urban renewal measures.

Facts & Figures

In 2019,
percent of China's total population lived in urban areas and cities.
In 2019, the green area per capita in China is
square meters.
In 2018, China’s has the world’s largest urban population of

News & Articles


With the annual rainfall 1200-1500 mm and the majority falls in spring and summer, the city of Changde faces the severe risk of urban inland flood and its intensity goes even worse when climate scenarios show more fluctuating in precipitation. Meanwhile, with the rapid progress in urbanization and industrialization, urban rivers turned to muddy and smelly with the surface overflowing with cyanobacteria. In the purpose of updating city infrastructure to be as flexible as a sponge in adapting to environmental changes and inland flood risk, as well as addressing the urban river pollution issues, sponge city has been strategized as a key measure to deal with water problem and as a core urban adaptation approach.


In the Outline of the 12th Five-Year Plan (FYP) for National Economic and Social Development of the People’s Republic of China, issued in 2010, it was the first time that addressing climate change was established as a separate chapter, putting forward the strategic requirements for enhancing capacity for climate change and considering impacts of climate change in planning and urban construction.

External Resources that might interest you

The Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance (the Alliance) is a multi-level and multi-stakeholder coalition aimed at closing the investment gap for urban subnational climate projects and infrastructure. The Alliance provides a platform to convene and exchange knowledge among all relevant actors dedicated to urban development, climate action, and/or financing. Check out their resources at:

The C40 Cities Finance Facility (CFF) facilitates access to finance for climate change mitigation and resilience projects in urban areas by providing technical assistance to develop cities’ sustainability
priorities into bankable investment proposals. The CFF aims to deliver project preparation and capacity development, and to widely share knowledge and establish partnerships between cities and financiers. Check out their resources at:

The City Climate Finance Gap Fund (Gap Fund) helps cities in developing and emerging countries realize their climate ambitions, turning low-carbon, climate-resilient ideas into strategies and finance-ready projects. The Gap Fund supports cities and local governments in preparing and prioritizing climate-smart plans and investments with the goal of attracting more financing and support for implementation. Check out their resources at: