Daten zum Projekt

Environing Infrastructure: Communities, Ecologies and China's Green Development in Contemporary Southeast Asia

Initiative: Freigeist-Fellowships
Bewilligung: 02.07.2019
Laufzeit: 5 Jahre


In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping launched the Belt and Road Initiative. With a projected 900 billion US dollars commitment from Chinese financial institutions, mostly directed towards infrastructure projects, the initiative promises to reshape development trajectories and the environment in ways that are yet unclear. Environing Infrastructure focuses on the environmental components of Chinese large-scale infrastructure development in Southeast Asia. The region, a major target for Chinese investments, is on the brink of numerous ecological crises. There is rising awareness across Southeast Asia of the potentially devastating environmental impact of Chinese infrastructure projects. On the other hand, China is a crucial economic partner and a model of development. Furthermore, in 2017 Beijing began promoting what it calls a "green" Belt and Road, claiming that sustainable development will be the centerpiece of its most ambitious initiative. Environing Infrastructure studies these dynamics by engaging with local communities and Chinese planners through long-term ethnographic research in three foundational Belt and Road projects in Myanmar, Thailand and Laos. Rooted in Social and Cultural Anthropology, it explores the nexus of infrastructure development, local ecologies, and China's "green" framing of its global ambitions.


  • Dr. Alessandro Rippa

    Universität München
    Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society