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Do urban planning policies meet sustainable urbanization goals? A scenario-based study in Beijing, China

Xu, Qiurong, Zheng, Xinqi, Zheng, Minrui
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.670 pp. 498-507
carbon sequestration, cropland, decision making, ecosystem services, governance, habitats, issues and policy, land use change, models, mountains, sustainable development, urban planning, urbanization, water yield, China
The global urbanization process has been a concern in recent years, and it is a serious challenge to sustainable development and effective urban governance. Rapid changes in urban land use have caused serious damage to the global ecological environment and ecosystem services (ESs). To help city planners and decision-makers in the process of city planning, it is vital to assess the impacts of urban land use changes on ESs. In this study, urban development under trend continuation and policy planning scenarios were assessed to determine whether the policy planning scenario meets the needs of sustainable urbanization. The two scenarios of future urban expansion in Beijing in 2035 were simulated by the FUTURES (FUTure Urban-Regional Environment Simulation) model, and the spatio-temporal changes of ESs in the two scenarios were explored through the InVEST (Integrated Valuation of Environmental Services and Tradeoffs) model. The results show that the major losses of ESs came from the conversion of cropland land to urban land, which accounts for 79.70% and 69.62% of the total carbon storage loss, 67.88% and 43.94% of the total water yield loss, and 79.94% and 77.72% of the total habitat quality loss, under the Status Quo (SQ) and urban planning development (UPD) scenarios, respectively. Our results emphasize that the policies proposed by the UPD scenario appear to greatly reduce the negative impacts of urban land use change on ESs. However, the government cannot neglect the protection of forest and needs to intensify the implementation of policies implementation in the shallow mountainous areas of the western margins and northeastern and northern regions of Beijing. By understanding the trade-off between future urban structure and ESs, city planners and decision-makers can adjust and optimize suggestions for urban planning policies to achieve sustainable development.