New Shanghai regulation promotes effective development of public spaces

Hu Min
The regulation in Shanghai gives more power to district governments to develop public spaces. The initiative aims at enhancing public sanitation, while encouraging economic growth.
Hu Min

Shanghai is to allow the allocation of public areas by district governments for business activities, with safety and tidiness assured to revive the economy, according to an amended rule.

The amended version of Shanghai's Regulations on the Administration of City Appearance and Environmental Sanitation will be effective from December, allowing public spaces to be used by businesses such as setting up stalls.

Shanghai's greenery and public sanitation authorities on Monday clarified some points that triggered public buzz after the regulations were released in September.

The version provides a legal guarantee on a cleaner, orderly, safer, warmer and more beautiful environment, officials said, and giving consideration to various factors like public sanitation, traffic safety, public safety and consumption demand.

"It highlights a balance of public sanitation management and economic vitality," said Zhang Zele, director of the law and regulations department of the Shanghai Greenery and Public Sanitation Bureau.

"We avoid a one-size-fits-all approach, with no total ban or total permit for street vendors," said Zhang.

"The amendment is more refined on the management of street vendors and the aim is to regulate the market," he added.

"Illegal street vendors are different from the new types of stalls that are allowed," he said.

In 2007, Shanghai had about 47,000 street vendors in downtown areas, with the figure dropping to fewer than 5,000 in 2021, according to the bureau.

"Illegal street vendors on large scales have almost disappeared in Shanghai," said Zhang.

A wide coverage

The regulations include the public sanitation of rural areas for the first time, covering fields such as water area environment and poultry feeding.

Newly-built or renovated public toilets should include barrier-free facilities with proper ratio of male and female cubicles.

Unisex facilities should be set up at newly built or renovated public toilets in venues with big crowds, such as big shopping malls, cultural and sports venues, tourist attractions and parks.

Cleaning frequency at public toilets inside wet markets, Metro stations and tourist attractions should be increased.

The regulations have also improved trash handling and disinfection rules for better pandemic prevention and control.

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