Four in five Chinese cities are failing to strike a balance between growth and sustainability.
That’s the finding of a new report by consultancy firm Accenture and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The study examined 73 of China’s largest cities and rated them across 32 performance indicators in three main categories: economic performance, resource and environmental sustainability and development capacity.
It found mid-sized cities are best placed to obtain sustainable growth in the future with more developed urban areas facing the greatest problems. The study says ‘resource-based cities’ in particular will need to alter their course drastically to avoid the pitfalls of unsustainable development.
The report claims there is still plenty of potential for sustainable growth but blames poorly planned urbanisation for hampering progress.
To solve the problems faced by China’s cities in the coming decades the study calls for improvements in technology, policy and strategy and cooperation across regions and sectors.
Specific suggestions include setting national and regional targets for energy efficiency, developing smart grids and intelligent buildings and increasing integration between utility providers, property developers and building management companies.
Peter Lacy, Accenture’s Managing Director of Strategy and Sustainability Services for Greater China and Asia Pacific said: “China has an opportunity to encourage healthy competition between its cities as a way to incentivise more sustainable urbanisation. But competition between cities should not prevent them co-operating on the development of common frameworks for technology, governance and financial models within which they can design specific solutions for their local needs.”
A report released last month found China will have to more than double its power capacity by 2030 to fuel its continued growth.