Creating Livable and Resilient Cities in Asia

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The Asian Development Bank’s ‘Creating Livable Asian Cities’ book, released in April 2021, makes a case for five priorities to create liveable and resilient cities and realize a sustainable urban future in Asia.

The book focuses on:

  • Smart and inclusive planning;
  • Sustainable energy;
  • Sustainable transport;
  • Innovative finance;
  • Resilience and rejuvenation;

The book explores how fast-growing cities in Asia can achieve their economic potential and create a liveable and resilient environment.

However, to realize these possibilities, Asian cities must overcome major obstacles such as poor planning, lack of affordable housing, pollution, inequalities, climate vulnerabilities, and inadequate urban infrastructure, decreasing urban communities’ quality of life and economic opportunities. The book unveils these challenges and presents solutions that focus on these five priorities.

“Asia’s future is urban. More than half of the 4 billion residents of developing Asia lived in urban areas in 2019. About 1 billion may join them in the next 30 years, pushing the regional urbanization rate above 64% by 2050. The region has some of the largest and densest cities in the world. Seventeen of the 33 global megacities with more than 10 million population are in Asia. Developing Asia has outpaced the rest of the world not only in absolute growth in urban population but also by growth rate.”

“While urbanization has driven regional productivity growth, it has also created major challenges. Increasing urbanization does not necessarily translate to increasing opportunities for all city residents. Asia’s cities will continue to grow but may not fulfill their potential as engines of growth and job creation due to unsynchronized spatial and economic planning, lack of affordable housing, marginalization of the poor and vulnerable, significant air and water pollution, failure to mitigate the effects of climate change, and deficits in urban infrastructure.”

What Global leaders have to say about this book

Seung-soo Han, Former Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea, says that “Creating Livable Asian Cities comes at a timely moment. The book emphasizes innovative technologies that can overcome challenges to make the region’s cities better places to live and grow. Its approach encourages stronger urban institutions focused on all people in every community. The book will inspire policymakers to consider concrete measures that can help cities’ build back better,’ in other words, to be more resilient and able to withstand the next crisis. In the post-pandemic period, livable Asian cities are a public good, just as green spaces are. Following this credo, however, requires Asia to invest in creating livable cities so they can fulfil their potential as avenues of innovation, prosperity, inclusiveness, and sustainability.”

Maimunah Modh Sharif Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), “Creating Livable Asian Cities addresses various urban development challenges and offers in-depth analysis and rich insights on urban livability in Asia from an urban economics perspective.”

Yumiko Noda Chair and Representative Director, Veolia Japan, “People move to cities with hopes and dreams. They go there in pursuit of a better life and new opportunities. Cities must be able to respond to their expectations. However, rapid urbanization in Asia often entails severe environmental, economic, and social consequences that undermine peoples’ quality of life. This book offers profound insights and practical guidance that will help Asian cities address a wide range of urban challenges and transform into truly livable, sustainable, and resilient cities.”

Karen Chapple Professor and Chair of City & Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley, the United States, “Finally, the definitive book to guide sustainable city-building in Asia in the 21st century! Asian Development Bank leaders Bambang Susantono and Robert Guild have skillfully assembled a set of cutting-edge essays that outline creative ideas and best practices in creating a more livable and equitable future for Asian cities.”

To read the entire ADB report, click the link below:

Source Citation:

Creating Livable Asian Cities. (2021 April). Asian Development Bank. Retrieved from

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