Sustainable growth formula eludes many China cities
Some Chinese cities are failing to meet the challenge of sustainable development, posing a risk to Beijing’s strategy of relying on mass urbanization to drive economic growth, according to a study released on Sunday. Sustaining urban growth without exhausting an already degraded environment is critical for China. More than 1 billion people are likely to be living in cities by 2030, compared with 600 million in 2008 and 380 million in 1990.
The Urban China Institute, a new think tank, found that a number of cities are making rapid progress in the right direction, but others are in serious danger of falling behind.
“Without strenuous efforts to improve performance, this gap will only grow, with serious implications for the country’s overall living standards and the environment,” its report said. The institute examined data between 2004 and 2008 from 112 cities to assess their progress toward sustainable development according to 18 criteria, such as access to safe water, waste recycling
and efficiency in using resources. China’s cities have made strides, especially in providing basic needs such as healthcare and education. But they are still well behind the developed world in areas where the tradeoffs between income and environment are starker.