China has been experiencing very rapid urbanization and urban development in the past decades. This has led to worsening problems such as traffic congestion and poor air quality which reduced the urban residents’ quality of life. The purpose of this study is to help achieve sustainable urban development, by investigating the crucial requirements of urban development on environmental protection, social and economic development and sustainability. Through a questionnaire survey on residents’ living experiences and assessment of the built environment at five residential communities in the city of Ningbo, this study investigates the relationship between living standard and the living environment. The results show that there is a general desire to have more floor area at home; satisfaction with public transport is generally high but traffic noise causes a lot of disturbance and reduces residents’ quality of life. Based on these results, recommendations are made on building sustainable communities in the future.