Asian cities need sustainability

Environment, productivity and work hours are all big issues

Asia is home to some of the largest urban centres in the world.

Jakarta, in Indonesia, is home to some 25 million people. Manila is huge. Tokyo and Seoul are both large. Smaller Hong Kong and Singapore are large by any standard. High urbanisation rates are making these cities even larger, but not necessarily more sustainable.

As Cornelia Zou reports in China Daily Asia Pacific last week the challenges are quite significant, but so are the opportunities for Asian cities to start taking issues of sustainability seriously and make significant leapfrogs in terms of the environments, quality of life, education, even work hours and governance.

The issues are quite complex, of course.

Environmental concerns, for example, are complicated by a lack of education and awareness of the importance of activities like recycling or preservation.

Something similar happens with corporate governance. Work hours in some of these Asian cities are longer than anywhere else in the world. These long work hours are not alway profitable or productive.

Thinking up stronger approaches to development now, can ensure these cities evolve into both large urban centres but also pleasant places to live.

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