Day Three Highlights - Category E


Wuxi, China, popn 7,000,000

Since 2000 Wuxi has been regarded as one of the 10 major tourist cities and 15 most economically significant cities in China. Despite 20 years of rapid development, the LivCom team heard that the city has still preserved its native style. Urban development has preserving the primary environment instead of destroying it. A typical example of the steps highlighted includes the classification of all trees more than 100 years old as “first-grade” protected. Altogether 6,367 such trees are protected and each has a “person responsible” to maintain and protect it. Heritage protection has been a major initiative – in 2005, the city established 25 heritage protection lists and put US$150m into protecting industrial centres such as the Wangyuanji Smelting Shop founded in 1837 and the Xiexin Worsted Spinning Weaving and Dyeing Mill, China’s first mill of this kind.

Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, popn 500,000

With a history going back 3000 years, Al Ain has been feted as the central point in the UAE’s cultural heritage. The climate that characterises this inland city is hot and arid. Surrounded by red sand dunes and mountain ranges, only brief periods of heavy rainfall interrupt long days of sunshine. The greening of the city has thus been one of the achievements highlighted at LivCom 2010. The region is renowned as the Al Ain Oasis which means “the water spring” – the name derives from the abundance of ground water springs in the area. In 2009, the LivCom panel heard that 170million AED had been allocated to increasing the green space in Al Ain. More than 150 million trees cover the city – all supplied with a high tech irrigation system. The Al Ain team reported that the “greening” is continuing on a daily basis bringing the ratio of green space to 28 square metres per person. Local tree species such as Nabks, Mesquites, Araks (Salvadora Sersica) and Acacias (Umbrella Thorn Acacias) are used for their tolerance to hot and dry weather. These trees now constitute huge forests and expansive green belts used as shelter belts and windbreaks on the main roadsides to decrease the spread of sand onto the roads. In 2009, the municipality started a yearly tree maintenance programme – new regulations forbid anyone from cutting them down.

Greater Portland Region, Oregon, USA

In an impressive presentation, the team from Greater Portland Region shed some light on the “young region’s” recent history in order to highlight its credentials as one of the world’s most liveable cities. The concept of an elected regional government was introduced in 1978 and today, the Metro regional government covers a vast area crossing city limits and county lines to improve quality of life and help the greater Portland region prepare for the future. The government covers 25 cities and three counties. “This is not a conventional government but Portland and its two dozen suburbs are not a conventional region,” the panel was told. Strategic planning combined with public involvement is one of the bedrock’s of the region’s success. The 2040 Growth Concept was adopted by the Metro Council in 1995 having been formulated with contributions from 1000s of Oregonians. Among the key targets, residents embraced compact development as a sustainable, liveable and fiscally responsible alternative to low-density sprawl. The “Making The Greatest Place” campaign was launched in 2005 – a five year series of policy and investment decisions intended to shift the region from simply mapping its values to making those values a reality. By becoming more entrepreneurial, the region felt that it could channel investment into areas that needed it most. Six outcomes have been identified; vibrant and walkable communities, economic competitiveness and prosperity, safe and reliable transport choices, leadership in addressing climate change, clean air, water and healthy ecosystems and finally, equitable distribution of the benefits and burdens of growth.

Changwon City, South Korea

Among the highlights for the judging panel from the Changwon team was the city’s ambition in conjunction with the European Cyclists Federation to promote “bike culture” in Asia. In 2008, a city bike project was carried out – 214km of bicycle paths were created and Nubija, the world’s first 24-hr a day unmanned bike rental system was introduced. South Korea’s only “planned” city has faced significant challenges. On land devastated by the Korean war, the Changwon Machinery Industrial Complex has been created allowing the city to grow steadily as a major economic hub. At the same time, the city’s planners set out to aim for “world class city” status aiming to respond to global warming and to create a sustainable city.

Iloilo City, Philippines

Revitalising economic growth with the goal of recapturing its crown at the Queen City of the South, was one of the key areas highlighted for Iloilo at LivCom 2010. The panel heard that the major impact of poverty on the city’s urban communities is in the sphere of health. The city has experienced periodic outbreaks of Dengue and Typhoid and to address this has embarked on a major programme of prevention. Health prevention programmes are conducted against a wide range of diseases and the LivCom panel heard that education and support for family planning, child immunisation and nutrition had also been developed.

Medellin, Colombia

Having made a last ditch-effort to reach the awards finals, the Medellin team took the final presentation slot of the Category E cities but nonetheless captivated judges and delegates with their extraordinary tale of the recovery of a city. Thanks for the intervention of world leaders including ex-President Clinton, the city is fast shedding its turbulent recent past as a drug and crime capital. A spokesman for the city explained how significant funding had been used to develop infrastructure education and cultural projects that would put Medellin on the tourist map.

“The city is currently drawing attention from government leaders and experts in sustainable development around the world who find that Medellin’s innovative experiences in education, art and culture, urban renovation, multimodal transportation, security, citizen participation and transparency in the handling of public resources have given way to an extraordinary improvement in the quality of life for citizens.”