Singapore praised in UN Habitat report

Singapore is praised in the UN Habitat’s State of the World’s Cities 2012-13 report for its quality of life, greenery, transport system, commitment to education and training, focus on environmental sustainability and urban planning. Here are some of the observations it makes on Singapore:

Quality of life is rapidly emerging as a major asset in any efforts to attract and retain creative minds and businesses. It comes as no surprise that Toronto, San Francisco or Stockholm should consistently rank among the top performing cities in the world, since they are found as performing particularly well in a wide range of both economic and quality of life indicators, crime, green areas, air quality and life satisfaction. Outside the more developed nations, Singapore, with a similar balance of quality of life attributes, also ranks among the top world cities and the highest among developing countries.Continue Reading

UN report on cities and income gaps

Who says the rich inevitably get richer and the poor poorer with globalisation? The most egalitarian cities are located in rich Western Europe though booming Beijing has the lowest income gap in the world. Look at the State of the World's Cities 2008/2009 — Harmonious Cities report released by UN-Habitat, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, yesterday.

The report says Beijing's Gini coefficient — a measure of income gap — is the lowest in the world (0.22), while Hong Kong's  (0.53) is the highest of all Asian cities.

The report says Asian cities with a Gini coefficient of 0.39 — just below the 0.4 unacceptable level — are the most equal in the developing world — that is, compared with cities in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. 

The income gap is increasing in Singapore, according to the official Statistics Singapore:

"The Gini coefficient, which is a summary measure of income inequality, increased from 0.472 in 2006 to 0.485 in 2007."

That means Singapore has a greater income gap than Britain and America, which have Gini coefficients of 0.35 and 0.45 respectively, leave alone Scandinavia, France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and Austria and the Netherlands.

The UN Habitat report says:

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