UN-HABITAT released two major new publications during the global celebration of World Habitat Day in Shanghai providing a fresh and informative insight into the state of cities in China and in Asia.
Mr. Daniel Biau, Director of UN-HABITAT’s Regional and Technical Cooperation Division, said it was the first time ever the agency had published the special reports, The State of Chinese Cities 2010/2011, and the State of Asian Cities 2010/2011.
The Chinese report, produced in cooperation with Chinese experts, said that up to the end of 2009, there were 654 cities in China that are home to 621.86 million people.
“With the gradual increase of urbanization level, the position and role of urban economy are becoming more important in the national economic development. Today, urbanization has already become an important force to encourage the new-type industrialization, create jobs and expand domestic demand. It has promoted the economic development, social progress, cultural prosperity, and comprehensive strength of China,” the report said.
At the end of 2009, the number of employed people was 779.95 million, of whom 311.20 million worked in cities and towns. The unemployment rate registered in cities and towns was 4.3%. On the basis of the booming development of urban economy, people’s livelihood was improved gradually.
Packed with the latest facts and figures on Chinese cities, the report is available in Chinese and English.
Taking a regional view, the State of Asian Cities 2010/2011 said that Asia’s prominent role in the world economy is driven by the relentless dynamism of its cities. However, it says they must prepare for climate change and adjust basic infrastructures and education to ongoing demographic growth if this success is to be sustained in the decades ahead.
“Although the Asia-Pacific population will not become predominantly urban before 2026, Asian cities already epitomise the successful integration of the region in the international economy over the past two decades or so,” the report says. “However, the benefits are not equally distributed, as testified by slums and enduring urban poverty.”
The first-ever State of Asian Cities Report 2010/11 is a collaborative effort between UN-HABITAT and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and the United Cities and Local Governments – Asia-Pacific Regional Section (UCLG-ASPAC).