China’s 2014-2020 New Type Urbanization Plan emphasizes the importance of quality urbanization. The new plan also introduced the “green city” as a vehicle for the implementation of new type of urbanization. According to the document, the key attributes of a green city are good health, environmental-friendliness, ecology, and low-carbon. Despite these principles, it remains clear that walkability is frequently ignored in urban development. Rather than focusing on the human scale, city planning remains car-centric. Promoting walkability at its core involves solving the widespread conflict between people and cars in Chinese cities and the issues that accompany it: congestion, the decrease in pedestrian space, and the decline in quality of life.
In August, 2014, NRDC released China Urban Walkability Evaluation Report, the first of a series of reports on walkability. The report uses a method developed by NRDC—the first index system for evaluating the walkability of Chinese cities. The method evaluates cities based on four dimensions: safety, comfort, accessibility, and policy/management. The four dimensions encompass 12 indices. Using these indices, the report evaluates 35 different cities that represent a diversity of scale and geography. According to the evaluation results, the report supplies specific suggestions for how to improve urban walkability. The report also provides case studies from New York City, Richmond, Copenhagen, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and Xiamen discussing their experience in implementing walkability projects.
(The document is available in Chinese only.)