I believe the "civilized city" tag is completely separate from any tiering system mentioned in latest comments.
It would measure "civilized" as in good behaviour - driving habits, accessibility, keeping city clean, etc. Things that most of us can probably agree about, and can contribute to by our own actions if we choose.
These tiering systems measure none of that (at least not directly).
Certainly a clean city with well-behaved citizens should be more attractive than one that is not, but if such characteristics fail to contribute to better education resources and better jobs, it does not show in these tiers.
On the other hand, these tiers measure things that some of us would not (and need not) agree about. Vibrant economy and top universities are not something that would make most Yunnanese
dance on streets.
Perhaps that's also why the state does not officially sponsor such tierings. Current and past developments in the four first tier cities do display some elements that the state council perhaps would not want to be taken as models for the nation.
Early developments in Shenzhen's real estate, or pollution in Beijing for example. Those have certainly contributed to making the cities Tier 1, but the Chinese cannot agree about the methods any more than us foreigners.
Good points JanJal.
Yicai's China Business Network (CBN) published these tier rankings and were reposted by CPC's state-level news agencies China News Services (CNS) and China Daily. These collaborative avenues are one of many unofficial, SOE propaganda arms of Beijing to boast economic progress for Chinese social media dissemination. So it is safe to assume rankings were granted green light from the top.
The state may not publicly endorse new tier rankings through official diplomatic channels, but would implicitly back such proxies for the purpose of (1) instilling consumer confidence with arbitrary data beyond flat growth indicators without appearing self-aggrandizing. (2) Justifying infrastructural investments for select cities such as BRI gateways like Kunming. (3) Attracting FDI and employers to fuel development like you said. (4) Distracting public attention from trade war, economic slowdown, stock market, bad debt, and housing bubble jitters.
@l4dybug: Does what you have written have anything to do with 'civilized Kunming'?
I think that there is some correlation between cities' economic (etc) ratings and observed civilized behaviour in those cities.
To some degree chicken and egg applies, but normally better economy gives more money to spend on promoting civilized behaviour.
I agree that it can and I'm not saying it doesn't,
but it depends on a definition of civilized behavior. What we get from the civilized cities campaign is, well, maybe incomplete and perhaps has arguable priorities. And how much does it cost to promote what kind of 'civilized behavior'?
Note that I have no objection to, for example, campaigns against spitting on the sidewalk, etc.
To me the most obvious and so-far lasting effect of the "Civilized Kunming" campaign was that cars generally now stop to let pedestrians cross streets - buses and taxis in partcular.
I'm not sure if this change was entirely related to the particular campaign, or if there was some separate campaign to improve this.
As far as the "Civilized Kunming" campaign goes, it isn't our job to decide what "civilized" means.
Whatever entity it is that gives out those tags, has their own definitions.
Personally I trust that it is quite in line with what I would consider civilized in Chinese context.
Beyond that campaign we all may have our own desires, but we (most of us anyway) are just visitors here.
Entity has their own definitions, of course.
but there's nothing wrong with anybody, visitor or otherwise, attempting to clarify what is, and what is not, going on, and why, and for this buzzwords are insufficient.
@Ishmael: "attempting to clarify what is, and what is not, going on, and why, and for this buzzwords are insufficient"
This is China - while you can ask city officials what they want to achieve, it is often more useful to keep your eyes open and see what is really happening.
For that purpose I believe economic indicators that @l4dybug mentioned are important.
For the native population, what ever definitions there are behind "Civilized Kunming", they expect to see it as a dimension of improvements in real prosperity, eg. economy. Otherwise, why bother.