Analysis: Can Chinese cities leave the car behind?

A greener life, a greener world

Article imageEncouraging bicycles and investing in public transport are just some of the ways Chinese cities are trying to minimise car use Photo credit: chuyu.

By Liu Shaokun

For years, Chinese city planners have prioritised cars, but they’re now taking a different route, writes Liu Shaokun.

Plagued by congestion and air pollution, China’s cities are exploring models of transportation that are more sustainable in terms of their social, environmental and climate impacts. Some have emerged as global leaders, such as Hangzhou, south-west of Shanghai, which in 2017 won an international award for its municipal bike sharing scheme. More recently Shenzhen, a major city north of Hong Kong, electrified its entire fleet of public buses, gaining worldwide recognition.

Over the past 40 years, China has undergone rapid urbanisation. In the 1980s, the one-time “kingdom of the bicycle” saw economic reforms and the transition to motorised transportation. The country is now…

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