China should include the "livable" factor in the performance of local city officials, a leading urban planning expert said yesterday.
Gu Wenxuan, secretary-general of the Chinese society for urban studies, an academic group under the Ministry of Construction, said domestic cities should not sacrifice the "livable" factor while relentlessly pursuing economic prosperity.
"The country's fast urbanization and economic boom has brought more problems for many cities, like environment deterioration, energy use, and traffic congestion," he said at the unveiling ceremony of a set of standards on "livable cities" compiled by the society.
The standards are a comprehensive evaluation of the daily life of urban residents.
It incorporates six components, social civilization, economic affluence, environment condition, resource capacity, living convenience and public sense of safety. The maximum score is 100 points.
Public opinion on housing, traffic and social welfare, accounts for almost one-third of the score, said Luo Yameng, a drafter of the standards.
Cities with 80 points or above are considered "livable", those between 60 and 80 "less livable", and those below 60 "alarmingly livable".
Cities with a very high crime rate, severe wealth gap and serious environment pollution and resource depletion, will be rejected even if they score well in other aspects.
Luo said as more than 600 cities have pledged to build a "livable city" in their planning, he hoped the standards would serve as a general reference.
"We don't want to see local officials building more 'image projects' or bribing list compliers to get on the list. That is totally against our intention.
"We hope cities adopt the standards, and improve their decision-making," Luo said.
(China Daily May 31, 2007)