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Thanks to Sophie for the blog, which has caused us a lot of thinking. There is a term called “livable city”. What does the livable city should be like? In order to answer this question, I specifically looked at the views of scholars or institutions on it.

The City PLUS long-term plan developed by Greater Vancouver defines urban livability as: Livability refers to an urban system that provides physical, psychological, and social benefits and personal development opportunities for all citizens. The important principles of livability are fairness, dignity, accessibility, happiness, participation and protection.

The definition of urban livability from P. Evans contains two aspects: survival and ecological sustainability. Survival means good living conditions, such as working not far from home, appropriate income, and public facilities and services for a healthy life. And survival must be ecologically sustainable.

Hahlweg, with himself as the main figure, envisages a livable city: You can live healthily and easily walking, cycling, taking a bus, or driving by yourself. A livable city is built for everyone, not just for the rich, and it should be safe and attractive. It is especially important that livable cities provide green spaces for the elderly and children to play and interact with each other. In short, livable cities are cities shared by all.

Salzano describes a livable city that a livable city links history and the future. The livable city respects the history of the footprint, protects the preserved places, buildings and urban layout. In livable cities, all natural resources can be fully utilized to ensure the sustainable development of cities. A livable city can provide both the material and the social benefits to the community and its citizens, and promote the continuous development of the citizens. In livable cities, public spaces are the center of community and social life. A livable city is a network that stretches from the city center to the suburban residential area in which the sidewalks and bicycle lanes link all activities and social life.

Timothy D. Berg reviewed the research of many scholars promoting New York to build a livable city. He created The City Livable Movement and pointed out that the core idea of ​​the livable urban movement is to reshape the urban environment. In the urban form, it is necessary to build roads and blocks suitable for pedestrians and restore the urban texture of the past. In terms of urban functions, it is necessary to realize the work, residence and retail of the city. The diversity of cities should be enhanced to make them more suitable for the residents to live.

In addition, some scholars do not directly define livable cities, but describe livable cities from the perspectives of goals and principles.

HL Lennard proposed 9 criteria for livable cities: 1. In a livable city, citizens can feel each other rather than being isolated from each other; 2. Citizens can communicate face to face; 3. There are many activities and celebrations for citizens When gathered, every citizen participates as an ordinary person; 4. Citizens feel safe; 5. Public space can be used as a place to learn from each other; 6. The functions of economic, social, culture and other aspects cannot be neglected in a city; 7. Citizens respect each other; 8. Urban environment is aesthetic; 9. Citizens’ opinions are respected, and citizens can participate in the process of urban development.


The concept of livable cities not only pays attention to the urban physical space and urban form, but also emphasizes the impact on the inhabitants’ lives, work and travel. In the process of designing and constructing a livable city, relevant institutions can fully consider the needs of the citizens and accept the opinions of participants such as citizens, enterprises, academics, NGOs, etc., truly achieving people-oriented.


Cities PLUS, (2003), A Sustainable Urban System: The Long – term Plan for Greater Vancouver [EB/OL]. / liv – able/default_e.asp (Assessed: 19 May 2019)

Evans., (2002), Livable Cities? Urban Struggles for Livelihood and Sustainability [M]. California, USA: University of California Press Ltd.

Hahlweg., (1997), “Seven Aims for the Livable City” in Lennard, S, H, S von Ungern- Sternberg, H, L, Lennard, eds. Making Cities Liv – able [C]. International Making Cities Livable Conferences. California, USA: Gondolier Press.

Salzano. (1997), “Seven Aims for the Livable City” in Lennard, S, H, S von Ungern – Sternberg, H, L, Lennard, eds. Making Cities Livable[C]. International Making Cities Livable Conferences. California, USA: Gondolier Press.

Timothy D. Berg. Reshaping Gotham., (1999), The City Livable Movement And the Redevelopment of New York City.1961- 1998[D]. Purdue University Graduate School, 1 – 54.

L. Lennard., (1997), “Principles for the Livable City” in Lennard, S, H, S von Ungern- Sternberg,H, L, Making Cities Livable [C].International Making Cities Livable Conferences. California, USA: Gondolier Press.

School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

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