Yuanyuan Zhang


04/2011 - today

Doctoral Student in University of Duisburg-Essen

Research area: Low carbon city assessment

09/2007 - 07/2010

Master Student in Tianjin Normal University

Research area: Physical geography

09/2003 - 07/2007

Bachelor Student in the Department of Urban and Environment Sciences

Tianjin Normal University

Doctoral Research

Low-Carbon Indicators: Assessing the Urban Climate Change Response Capacity in China

Climate change is affecting human society in different aspects, thus attracts global focus. City areas - with more than half of the world's population - are major contributors to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Estimates suggest that as much as 80% of total GHG emissions come from cities and their residents. On the other hand, it will definitely face great challenges.

As the biggest CO2 emitter of the world China committed to reduce its carbon dioxide intensity (CO2 / unit of gross domestic product, GDP) by 40–45% by 2020 from a 2005 baseline. Given this reduction goal, China’s cities will play an increasingly larger role in China’s efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. It is important to determine a clear appropriate definition of a “low-carbon city” and develop a framework for assessing the urban climate change response capacity, i.e., low-carbon capacity in China.

The objective of the research is the development of an assessment system for low-carbon cities in China. This will be worked on the basis of the existing Low Carbon Index® (see Annex). Modifications and upgrades are being planned in the following field:

  • Instead of focusing on energy efficient of a city, the new LCI assesses the city low-carbon capacity from both mitigation and adaptation perspectives.
  • As important categories of low-carbon city evaluation, waste and water will be involved in the new LCI.
  • Based on the international low-carbon city assessment experiences and the feedback of the LCI® implementation report, the indicators of the existing LCI will be revised and expanded.
  • Every selected indicator will be analyzed based on the conditions and constraints of China for keeping the specific characteristics of the low-carbon indicator system for China.

The new indicator system, LCI (V2.0) will be applied in a case study in China covering the planning and construction phase of a low-carbon city project. At last, necessary adjustment will be made according to the implementation results.

Annex: Low Carbon Index (LCI®)

The LCI® especially serves to evaluate new projects regarding the energy-efficiency in qualitative and quantitative ways. This enables the planner to realize failures in the energetic planning in the planning process and correct the concept. Additionally the LCI®’s checklist helps to localize potential weak points, which can be optimized in the next planning phase. With the LCI® the evaluation supports the clarity strength of strategies for energy-efficiency. Certainly the LCI® helps the planner to evaluate existing city districts, neighborhoods, and building ensembles regarding their energy-efficiency and to develop a new framework for the reduction of CO2-emissions. This is a basis for the planning of urban reconstruction on different levels – i.e. urban form, mobility, building and renewable energies.

The simple application results in the fact that the findings are not precisely calculated. Instead the evaluation is carried out through a number of criteria that are classified on a scale from +2 to -2. There are different criteria – qualitative and quantitative ones - for each of the four topics. Although some of the criteria cannot be converted right away in CO2 – emissions saved they still have a big impact in combination with others.

The LCI®-evaluation results in manifold solutions and products that may help diverse target groups in different stages and priorities of programs.

Checklist: The evaluation of each step in the planning process results in checklists that show where the planning process has to be improved to receive a Low Carbon Planning.

Low Carbon Guidelines: The application of the LCI® allows the development of guidelines that can serve as main threads for further planning. On a political level they will promote decision-making processes, offer guidelines in rewarding competitions or support potential investors.

Low Carbon Design Codes: Evaluations can be turned into legally binding codes related to buildings and open spaces. Those are target group-specific e.g. for project developers, investors or city planning institutes. The codes show – referring to estates – the criteria that have to be considered in the realization process. They could be part of contracts and controlled by community boards. The codes for city planning institutes focus on the realization of public spaces. The LCI® has already been applied several times in different areas of Shanghai. Special attention has been given to two areas in that region, one being a prominent business area, the other a residential area. One may realize the huge range of possible applications here.


List of Publications

  1. Yuanyuan Zhang. On Standards for Land Leveling Project in Tianjin Land Development Consolidation Engineering, Youth Science, 2009, 10:134.
  2. Yuanyuan Zhang. A Strategy of Campaign and Serve for Olympic Tourism in Tianjin, Xue Ren Wen Cui IV, Jilinrenmin Publishing House, 2008, 7-11.
  3. Yuanyuan Zhang. A Research on the Development of Tianjin's Tourism Industry from the Perspective of Olympic Tourism, Proceedings for Euro-Asia Conference on Environment and Corporate Social Responsibility: Tourism and Management Session, PractisesWissenschaftlicher Verlag Berlin, 147-155.


Institute of City Planning + Urban Design

University of Duisburg-Essen

Zhang, Yuan Yuan

Mobil (+49) 0176 3299 0186

Fax (+49) 0201 183 – 4218

Academic Titles


ARUS Doctoral Candidate