Some will fare well in the future, according to the report, but many will have hard times growing in a sustainable pattern if environmental and land use rules aren't changed, according to the Urban China Institute.
"The institute examined data between 2004 and 2008 from 112 cities to assess their progress toward sustainable development according to 18 criteria, such as access to safe water, waste recycling and efficiency in using resources.
China's cities have made strides, especially in providing basic needs such as healthcare and education. But they are still well behind the developed world in areas where the tradeoffs between income and environment are starker.
The report described the cleanliness of China's environment as woefully behind the West's. Air pollution and sulphur dioxide emissions are far from meeting World Health Organization norms."