Recently, the Economist Intelligence Unit published its 2018 ranking of the world’s most livable cities. The report ranked 140 cities around the world based on stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure. Ten Chinese cities were listed among the top 100, including Hong Kong (35), Taipei (58), Suzhou (74), Beijing (75), Tianjin (77), Shanghai (81), Shenzhen (82), Dalian (90), Guangzhou (95) and Qingdao (97).
Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, located in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, were ranked among the world’s top 100 most livable cities and are a reflection of the livability of this area.
Of the 10 Chinese cities listed among the top 100 most livable cities, there are not only first-tier cities such as Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, but also up-and-comers such as Suzhou, Dalian and Qingdao.
It is noteworthy that many of the tourism-centric cities with beautiful scenery were not on the list. Indicators for assessing a city’s livability, such as healthcare, culture, environment, education and infrastructure construction, are more focused on the quality of people's everyday life.
Becoming a livable city depends not only on whether the city is beautiful, but also on its strengths. A truly livable city with a high quality of life is a city that makes people feel secure and provides quality healthcare and education so that people can enjoy both their work and life.
On the list of the world’s most livable cities, a new region is emerging. The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area makes an appearance via representation by Guangzhou (ranking 95th), Shenzhen (ranking 82nd) and Hong Kong (ranking 35th), which are all connected together as an axis.
The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area will build a “Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Macao” scientific and technological innovation corridor so as to build an International Technology Innovation Center. The ecological environment is as important as industry, and entrepreneurship and livability exist side by side. This will be the main feature of this axis. According to the plan, the construction of the Greater Bay Area creates a "world-leading bay area and a world-class city cluster" making this area a more dynamic economic zone and a quality area in which people can live, work and visit. It will also serve as a demonstration zone for in-depth cooperation between the mainland, Hong Kong and Macao.
How did Guangzhou and Shenzhen get listed among the world’s top 100 most livable cities? Guangzhou and Shenzhen, which are first-tier cities, have always featured on various lists ranking the world’s most livable cities.
In the China Urban Competitiveness Report issued by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in June, the top 10 cities with strong livability indexes for 2017 were Hong Kong, Wuxi, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Nantong, Nanjing, Macao, Zhenjiang, Ningbo and Shenzhen.
How do Guangzhou and Shenzhen lead the livability indexes while maintaining high economic capacity? In terms of stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure, Guangzhou and Shenzhen have their own strengths: Guangzhou has Haizhu Wetlands in its central urban area, which is rare in this world. Shenzhen has the world's longest seaside promenade.
As an important central city in China and the capital of Guangdong Province, Guangzhou has profound cultural heritage as well as political, educational, medical and cultural resources.
Shenzhen, known as the “City of the Makers”, has been working hard to make up for its shortcomings in healthcare and education.
Take higher education as an example. Shenzhen has established local campuses in cooperation with prestigious universities such as Tsinghua University, Peking University and the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences. Construction of the Shenzhen Campus of Sun Yat-sen University has started and the Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute and other special institutes and colleges have accelerated their construction plans. In the next 10 years, Shenzhen plans to invest more than CNY150 billion to build more high-level universities. The city aims to have about 20 institutions of higher learning by 2025 with more than 250,000 students so as to become one of China’s leading cities in terms of higher education.
Shenzhen (especially the Qianhai area) shall enhance its regional influence in the Greater Bay Area and facilitate the regional "one-hour" traffic circle. In terms of infrastructure construction, the building of the transportation network in Guangzhou and Shenzhen has continuously been accelerated. The "13th Five-Year Plan for the Development of Modern Comprehensive Transportation System" issued by the State Council last year focuses on building four international integrated transportation hubs, including Guangzhou and Shenzhen.