Top duo in China, but still behind in Asia
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.