Tuesday, June 29, 2010

S’pore emerges as most liveable Asian city in new Global Liveable Cities Index

Singapore has emerged as the most liveable Asian city in a new index. It was ranked third worldwide coming in behind Geneva and Zurich in the Global Liveable Cities Index.

Published by Singapore’s Centre for Liveable Cities, the index looked at 64 cities including 36 from Asia.

When it comes to liveability, Singapore has been ranked up there with some of Europe’s best cities.

In individual rankings, it came in first for domestic security and stability and third for good governance and leadership.

And it ranked 5th for economic vibrancy and quality of life.

But Singapore paled in the area of eco-friendliness and sustainability which looked at things like pollution and environmental initiatives.

Dr Tan Khee Giap, lead researcher, Global Liveable Cities Index, said: “We did very well on water management but this data is not available to most cities. Data which is available in Singapore but not available in most of the 64 cities we studied, will not be used.”

Dr Tan said cities can work with the centre if they want to improve their ranking.

He said: “We do simulations by looking at cities and identify 20 weakest indicators among the more than 100 indicators we have. And hypothetically, if you improve your weakest 20%, how would your ranking be raised? So in that sense, it is more constructive than just doing a ranking which can be a beauty contest.”

These preliminary findings of the index were unveiled at the World Cities Summit on Tuesday.

The Centre for Liveable Cities said the index is still a work in progress.

While the index is comprehensive and covers 135 indicators, it is by no means complete.

Dr Tan said that they may be looking to include more factors such as gender bias.

Other cities, such as Penang and Tatarstan, have also indicated interest in being included in the index.

The index’s framework will be put up for further discussion during a workshop at the summit on Wednesday.

The Centre for Liveable Cities said its index stands out from other current rankings as it takes a more balanced approach.

But the way it’s computed will be discussed and refined further.

Andrew Tan, director, Centre for Liveable Cities, said: “In terms of looking at liveability from a more holistic and balanced framework, I think there are probably very few, if any, such set of indicators around.”

Separately, National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan also proposed a “Learning Network for Cities,” to share the best practices in building a liveable city.

He said: “Cities differ from one another in size and character. They are shaped by their own demographics, cultures and traditions, their history and geography.

“But there are some recurring themes in the sustainable development practices of successful cities. These themes include strong governance, citizen engagement, balancing development and the environment, and international collaborations.”

The push for sustainable urban living comes at a time when cities are growing at an unprecedented rate.

Every day, about 200,000 people move in cities and towns and by 2050, seven in 10 people will live in cities.

This presents challenges for governments to provide access to clean water, affordable housing and good sanitation.

Source: Channel News Asia, 29 Jun 2010

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