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If Singapore and Vancouver can create liveable cities, why can’t Hong Kong?

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Among the plethora of statistics, benchmarks and generalities in Hong Kong 2030 Plus, the government’s policy vision document, one word is conspicuous in its almost total absence – quality. The document says its vision is for Hong Kong “to become a liveable, competitive and sustainable Asia’s World City” but gives little clue as to how to get there, providing no measurable liveability targets and not specifying what liveable actually means or whose aspirations these might be.

By contrast, Edinburgh initiated a 2050 City Vision campaign in 2016 which sparked public discussion about the future of the city and its residents’ aspirations and concerns. In Vancouver, more than 35,000 people took part in the development of the Greenest City Action Plan in 2011, which set clear quality goals with measurable and attainable targets towards becoming the “greenest city in the world by 2020”. The city has committed to ensuring that 100 per cent of its energy will come from renewable sources by 2050.

Singapore can point to its 1967 “garden city” vision as the original quality driver of its transformation into, according to Mercer, Asia’s most liveable city. The five focus initiatives of its Sustainable Singapore Blueprint really highlight the city’s emphasis on quality of life: “an active and gracious community”; “towards a zero waste nation”; “‘eco smart’ endearing towns”; “a leading green economy”; and, “a ‘car-lite’ Singapore”.

The focus is on building housing........

© South China Morning Post