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Chinese city puts sustainable community ISO standard to the test

“Inclusive Cities, Shared Development” is the 2016 theme of World Cities Day celebrated on 31 October. Many ISO standards contribute to improving quality of life in cities, including ISO 37101 which offers a management system for sustainable development in communities.

The city of Hangzhou in China is one of the first to test the new ISO 37101. Hangzhou, which has a population of over nine million people, is the capital of Zhejiang Province, known for its natural beauty and historical and cultural heritage. Here, Ms Shao Xinhua, Director General of the Hangzhou Administration of Quality and Technology Supervision, tells us what they have learned from this experience.

Shao Xinhua

Shao Xinhua.

Why did Hangzhou decide to use ISO 37101?

Sustainable development is an important goal for the city of Hangzhou. We decided to use ISO 37101 to manage and improve sustainability and become more innovative and open. Our objective was to increase economic development, improve quality, reduce our environmental impact and advance social governance and public services. Ultimately, we hoped for a positive transformation of our urban environment that would make our citizens happier to live there.

What has happened so far?

We have started using ISO 37101 for guidance and reference as we implement the city’s strategy and planning. Our goal is to use this International Standard to promote Hangzhou to the status of world city.

Hangzhou uses the standard for city performance management. We began by establishing a dedicated committee to work with ISO 37101, with our senior vice-mayor as its director. ISO 37101 has helped us outline what each department and area should do to contribute to sustainable development, so that we can build standardized, detailed, specialized, high-quality and effective public management and governmental services. We hope this will be known as the “Hangzhou standard” in China.

Why is standardization important for Hangzhou?

Standards are helping Hangzhou City in many ways. For example, combined with our philosophy of ecological civilization, standards are helping us create beautiful projects, such as expressways, tea gardens or a scenic countryside because we want the city to be an example of beautiful China.

Tea garden in Hangzhou, China

Tea garden, Hangzhou.

Standardization together with innovation is helping us to build a smart city and promote smart manufacturing. Hangzhou is also using standards to carry out the Shangchen District national pilot project to evaluate government management.

There are many other examples highlighting the importance of standards for Hangzhou, ranging from e-commerce quality management to considerably reducing elevator emergency rescue to 14 minutes, to taking care of people with disabilities, as well as streamlining public bicycle services and much more. Overall, our goal is to use standards to improve the lives of the people of Hangzhou.

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