Top duo in China, but still be­hind in Asia

China Daily (USA) - - SHANGHAI - ByYURAN FANGAIQING in Shang­hai yu­ran@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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Shang­hai has been ranked sec­ond be­hind Bei­jing in the China Ur­ban Re­cre­ation­al­iza­tion In­dex which was re­leased on Nov 12, but experts say that the two cities still lag far be­hind their Asian coun­ter­parts such as Tokyo, Seoul and Singa­pore.

Ur­ban re­cre­ation­al­iza­tion refers to the state of leisure el­e­ments in a city that has a per capita GDP of be­tween $3,000 and $5,000, and is de­ter­mined by fac­tors such as en­vi­ron­ment, res­i­dents’ con­sump­tion pat­terns and in­dus­trial in­fra­struc­ture.

“Based on our anal­y­sis, even though Bei­jing and Shang­hai have fin­ished ahead of 36 Chi­nese cities, they still have a long way to go be­fore they can reach global stan­dards,” said Lou Ji­a­jun, pro­fes­sor of East China Nor­mal Univer­sity.

Com­pared to Shang­hai, Tokyo was awarded twice as many points, and Lou at­trib­uted this to a dis­par­ity in the eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of the two me­trop­o­lis.

“The eco­nomic devel­op­ments of Tokyo and Singa­pore have al­ready reached a mat­u­ra­tion point, which is why these cities are able to do well in the re­cre­ation­al­iza­tion in­dex. I be­lieve Shang­hai will even­tu­ally be­come a mod­ern­ized recre­ational city if it con­tin­ues to de­velop its econ­omy,” said Lou.

The re­port pointed out that though Shang­hai has good ur­ban ser­vices, the city still faces a lack of recre­ational ser­vices, in­clud­ing cul­tural fa­cil­i­ties such as li­braries, cul­tural cen­ters, the­aters and cin­e­mas, and cul­tural relics pro­tec­tion units. Lou added that though Bei­jing has a large num­ber of his­tor­i­cal sites, the Chi­nese cap­i­tal’s mas­sive pop­u­la­tion of makes it dif­fi­cult to sat­isfy the re­quire­ments for a good qual­ity of life.

The re­port also found that leisure econ­omy and ser­vices in China are two fac­tors that have boosted ur­ban recre­ational de­vel­op­ment, whereas en­vi­ron­ment and trans­porta­tion were iden­ti­fied as the two weak­est ar­eas.

“It’s im­por­tant that the city govern­ments in cen­tral and west­ern China pay more at­ten­tion to the ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment and trans­porta­tion while work­ing to im­prove the econ­omy, else they will face even tougher prob­lems when it comes to rais­ing the qual­ity of life for their cit­i­zens,” said Lou.

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