Wednesday, June 30, 2010

CNA: S'pore emerges as most liveable Asian city in Global Liveable Cities Index

S'pore emerges as most liveable Asian city in new Global Liveable Cities Index
By Joanne Chan 29 June 2010 

SINGAPORE: 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. 

Vibrant economic growth, eco-friendliness and a high quality of life are just some aspects of an ideal liveable city. 

Based on the index, Singapore is ranked up there with some of Europe's best cities. 

It performed relatively well in four of the five areas, scoring well for security and good governance. 

It came in first for domestic security and stability and third for good governance and leadership. 

It ranked fifth in 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 is the lead researcher for the Index. 

He 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 added: "We do simulations by looking at cities and identify for example, 20 weakest indicators among the more than 100 indicators we have. And hypothetically, if you improve your weakest 20 per cent, 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 research team 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. 

Dr Tan noted that the government plays a crucial role in promoting a sustainable and liveable city. 

This theme was also explored during a separate plenary session. 

National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan proposed a Learning Network for Cities, so that countries can share the best practices of liveable cities. 

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." 

Mr Mah highlighted the Bilbao City Hall, winner of the inaugural Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize, as an example. 

It is a city which has achieved sustainable development through good leadership and commitment to long-term planning. 


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Martin Koh/ Sherry Tang
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