Around the world, sustainable development has become a top policy issue as countries struggle to achieve economic growth without compromising the future. Nowhere is the matter more pressing than in China, where urban areas and their economies are expected to grow rapidly over the next few decades and resource use and environmental quality are already grave concerns. National and local leaders have responded by making sustainable development a priority.
The so-called urban sustainability index finds mixed results for this nascent effort. The index revealed a significant gap between the best- and worst-performing Chinese cities across a number of indicators. China's current model of urban growth does not meet global benchmarks for sustainability, but some cities offer positive examples that could be copied elsewhere in the country and in other developing markets.
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