Progress in Research on Net-Zero-Carbon Cities: A Literature Review and Knowledge Framework

Ziyu Duan, Seiyong Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Through quantitative and qualitative analysis, this report conducts a thorough evaluation of the literature on the present progress in research on and the performance of net-zero-carbon cities (NZCCs). The quantitative analysis identifies ten major areas at this stage, and this analysis is followed by a systematic review of the dynamics and cutting-edge issues of research in the hot literature in this area. The systematic review reveals that the key points of NZCC transformation at this stage are research on zero-carbon buildings, urban paradigms, policies, economics, and renewable energy. Finally, based on the results of the previous analysis, to build the theoretical framework of NZCCs and combined with the sustainable development goals, future research directions are proposed, such as urban infrastructure transformation and low-carbon transportation, policy support and system reform, and digital transformation as well as coupling and balancing the relationships of various elements. In addition, cities need to develop evaluation indicators based on specific developments, and policy adaptability and flexibility are crucial for promoting cities’ efforts to achieve zero emissions. The current study provides targeted theoretical references and assistance for future policymakers and researchers, as well as advances and trends in the field of net zero carbon and associated research material from an urban viewpoint.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6279
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Sept

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • climate-neutral
  • net-zero-carbon cities
  • systematic literature review (SLR)
  • zero-carbon city

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Control and Optimization
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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