Sustainable and Liveable Cities: Toward Ecological Civilization
Framed in the context of urbanisation, the 2013 NHDR examines the interconnectivity between China’s economic, social and environmental challenges, and stresses that all three are pillars contributing to the government’s focus on human development.
According to this report, China’s urbanisation comes at a critical time on all three fronts, with pressures accumulating in matters such as the efficient use of natural and energy resources, the development of urban governance systems, employment, transportation, housing and access to basic social services, security, the livelihoods of migrant workers, an ageing population, structural economic transformation, and air and water pollution. How urbanisation is managed in China will determine the outcome of many of these challenges.
Sustainable and Liveable Cities: Toward Ecological Civilisation reports a host of findings and policy recommendations concerned with China’s management of urbanisation. Highlights include:
· By 2030, cities will be home to 70 per cent of China’s population and generate 75 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product.
· Given the current state of affairs in the country, a fine balance will have to be struck compromising between the speed and quality of urbanisation.
· Strong governance mechanisms and institutions for implementation are required to allow the policies needed to act on increasingly complex urban challenges to be successful.
· Because of the magnitude and speed of the changes underway in China, the window of opportunity for addressing many of the associated challenges is relatively small.
· Select demographic groups such as migrant workers and the ageing population will require particular attention, as their participation in the urbanisation process will be of especial importance.
It is also important that sensitivity for China’s cultural heritage be maintained, and the Report stresses the significance of cultural planning for urban sustainability and liveability.
The report also draws attention to the opportunities created by urbanisation in China. It argues that urbanisation can accelerate the modernisation process and economic structure upgrading, and be the strategic focus in changing the country’s development profile from a GDP-focused export-orientated economy to a more stable, human development-based one.
It is hoped that this report will contribute to the current and future policies that will guide China through this historic period of unprecedented urbanisation towards the goal of sustainable and liveable cities.