Sustainable urban mining: the case of China

Yanyan Xue

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

544 Downloads (Pure)


Urban mining (UM) is a metaphorical term to describe the reclaiming of non-renewable resources from the anthroposphere. It provides secondary resources to the economic system with the associated environmental benefits. Urban mining even become an industry in China, processing large quantity of waste generated domestically and internationally, it offers economic growth while associated with environmental and social problems. The sustainability of urban mining development in China is in question.
This doctoral study developed a four-dimensional sustainable UM framework, analyzed the multiple attributes and the relevant focal points embodied in the resource, environmental, economic, and social dimensions of urban mining. As a previous teamwork study the author was involved in has explored the resource and environmental issues. This study focused on the economic and social dimension.
In the economic dimension, the study constructed a maximal covering location model combining a 0-1 integer programming method on the ArcGIS platform, to solve a location optimization of the 50 national UM pilot bases the China government would like to support. In the social dimension, the key issue is the problem an integration of the informal collection. The study examined the emerging intelligent collection models and theirs comparative advantage. A sustainable urban mining system need the application of the intelligent collection to integrate or replace the informal collection.
This study further illustrated the four-dimensional issues in one UM city as a micro case study to explore how UM industry development in one city can impact its industrialization and urbanization and help contribute towards sustainable development. Lastly, an in-depth policy assessment in China for UM brought the study back to the macro level, and its results can formulate specific policy advice for the core question of this thesis - sustainable UM development in China.
This study constructs a theoretical four-dimension framework for sustainable UM analysis and strategy planning. And provides specific policy advice for China government decision-making about the UM industry. The experience and lessons of China are also applicable for other developing counties, and for the EU counties with their circular economy targets.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Bressers, Hans T.A., Supervisor
  • Wen, Z.G., Supervisor, External person
Award date18 Oct 2018
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-4629-4
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Sustainable urban mining: the case of China'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this