The ability to achieve urban sustainability has become an indication of the competence of a municipal government aiming to gain world class status for the city. While both Guangzhou and Hong Kong are Chinese cities having their own formulation of urban sustainability, the implementation details and the actual sustainability blueprints are very different. As a result, the outcomes and prospects for urban sustainability are also different. Hong Kong has adopted a less integrative and more institutionally-oriented approach for urban sustainability. Guangzhou has used the conventional approach to formulate an integrated sustainability programme for its local Agenda 21. Hong Kong's action plan emphasizes improving coordination, making objective assessments and achieving consistency in policy-making. Guangzhou, on the other hand, emphasizes the meeting of concrete environmental targets. Unfortunately, the new institutional arrangement and monitoring tools adopted by Hong Kong have not been able to achieve the original intent and neither is there the intention to go too far beyond the weak sustainability approach. On the contrary, Guangzhou has planned and attempted to incorporate industrial ecology in its development regime while heavily investing into pollution control programmes and pushing forward a green community programme at the grass-roots level.
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