Policy ForumUrban Science

Global science for city policy

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Science  12 Jan 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6372, pp. 165-166
DOI: 10.1126/science.aao2728

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  • China’s Bike-sharing: A New Green-washing Industry?
    • Qian Zhang, Project Researcher, Department of Urban Engineering, the University of Tokyo
    • Other Contributors:
      • Xiaofeng Gao, PhD Candidate, Department of Urban Engineering, the University of Tokyo
      • Zhuhuan Liu, Graduate Student, School of Architecture and the Built Environment, KTH Royal Institute of Technology

    New bike-sharing system spread from China becomes a potential challenge for global cities. This bike-sharing system, one of so-called “China’s new four great inventions” as well as high-speed railways, electronic payments, and online shopping, has proven success with huge venture investment and rapid expansion to the cities outside China. However, we doubt that this booming industry could be labelled as a green business since its life-cycle environmental benefits may be exaggerated compared to the claims by some companies.
    Urban sustainability requires data-driven evidences, integration of multidisciplinary knowledge on complex urban systems and effective interactions with practitioners (1). It is dangerous for cities to popularize bike-sharing system as a green solution for urban transport without careful evaluations. The avoided CO2 emissions must be overestimated if one assumes that all the cycling are shifted from driving passenger cars (2). In most cases of bike-sharing, the cycling distance is less than 3 km, suggesting that these needs are shifted from walking or public transit, while it replaces private driving merely when a city is less dense and the commute is farther.
    Waste of resources is another notable problem to threaten the sustainable development of bike-sharing. The oversupply of bicycles soon become bulk waste of steel and iron, which are shorter than the expected life time due to mismanagement or bankrupts. Inefficient use of shared bicycles...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • Sapiential city policy in China
    • Xianrui Luo, Undergraduate Student, School of Automation, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China
    • Other Contributors:
      • Yoshiyasu Takefuji, Professor, Keio University

    Michele et al. pointed out that research and data are increasingly at the heart of how we conceive of urban governance in Global science for city Policy (1).  For realizing the data-informed urban governance, china is accelerating the construction of the sapiential City (2).  The sapiential city, a concept that solving the problems in urban development by a cross-sectoral, cross-domain, diversified and integrated information fusion, and ultimately achieve the sustainable management of urban life cycle. At the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 2017, Xi Jinping proposed that it is necessary to build a digital China and a sapiential society. The construction of sapiential city has become a national strategy in china. As of June 2016, over 95% of the cities above the sub-provincial level, with more than 76% cities of prefecture-level, and a total of more than 500 cities clearly stated in their government annual work report that will or are building sapiential cities (3). Besides, 46 cities were listed as pilot cities for the sapiential city's space-time information cloud platform, of which 4 cities were checked and accepted.

    [1] Michele Acuto et al., "Global science for city policy" Science, 12 Jan 2018: Vol. 359, Issue 6372, pp. 165-166
    [2] Zhang FengLing, " Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development: City Big Data There are about 400 cities in the country" November 13, 2014

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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