Buildings makeovers, more green spaces coming

Changning has about 250,000 square meters of old residential buildings where people still share kitchens and toilets.
Buildings makeovers, more green spaces coming
Ti Gong

The riverside space along the Suzhou Creek

CHANGNING has been busy renovating all around the district.

To the east of the Inner Ring Road, jobs mainly focus on the protection of historic blocks along Xinhua Road, Yuyuan Road and Hengshan-Fuxing Road.

Changning has about 250,000 square meters of old residential buildings where people still share kitchens and toilets.

All the buildings will be renovated or converted for other use by 2020, said Yu Hao, director with the district’s house management bureau.

Some of the buildings that too dilapidated to be worth repairing will be demolished, with residents relocated to new apartments. Some other buildings would be converted into residents’ activity centers and other public venues, Yu said.

Some old office buildings near Zhongshan Park will be renovated.

The renovation project will also target more than 500,000 square meters of historic buildings within the district, many of which require upgrading.

“A professional team will maintain and renovate these historic structures to restore the original look while highlighting their history and culture,” Yu said. The renovation was initially launched at the Daxi Villa, a British garden villa built in 1924 at 1453 Yan’an Road W. It has 17 three-story villas surrounded by greenery. All the houses have half-timber framing, steel windows and timber floors.

Greenery in the century-old quarter has also had a makeover to make more space for walking and exercise. Public facilities have also been upgraded. And a fitness trail has been built.

The layout of the backyard has been improved to allow more sunshine. A fitness trail passes through areas full of light. Drying racks and the janitor’s room were also refurbished.

The renovation cost to be paid by the district government will be about 2,000 yuan (US$290) per square meter for these historic buildings — 10 times the amount for previous renovations, Yu said.

Buildings makeovers, more green spaces coming
Ti Gong

The walking trail along the Suzhou Creek

Qishan Village

Qishan Village on Yuyuan Road, where renowned missile scientist and space expert Qian Xuesen once lived, will also be revamped.

Changning has the most densely clustered historic buildings in the city, mainly along Wuyi, Yuyuan and Xinhua roads.

There are more than 400 protected historic buildings, according to the district government.

More pedestrian paths and bicycle lanes will connect public spaces and historic neighborhoods on Hongqiao Road, Xinhua Road, Yuyuan Road and Fuxing Road, said Guo Hai, director of Changning’s planning, land and resources bureau.

For the central area between the Inner Ring Road and Middle Ring Road, Changning will improve the infrastructure and public utilities of old neighborhoods. The Hongqiao International Dance Center will also put on dance shows and to promote the development of the surrounding areas.

To the west of Middle Ring Road, Changning will promote the add-on functions of development of lands in industrial parks. The key areas are the eastern part of Hongqiao International Airport and Linkong Economic Zone.

Footpaths will be built to the west of the Outer Ring Road, at the Linkong Industrial Park and along the Suzhou Creek to jointly form a slow traffic system for jogging, cycling or even sports races.

In the west end of Changning, the Outer Ring Road divides Xinjing Town in two. Although traffic here is always busy, few people visit the woodland paths on both sides.

Because of that, the environment remains largely pristine. Beautiful views all the time, birds singing, squirrels jumping from the trees: It’s an animal paradise.

And a 5.5-kilometer ecological greenway will be built here. The first phase of construction, to the west of the Outer Ring Road, kicks off this month. It will cover 180,500 square meters. Preparation for the second phase is also beginning.

The project has been included in the urban renewal plan of the eastern part of Hongqiao International Airport and Linkong Economic Zone and the 13th Five-Year-Plan (2016-2020) of Changning District.

Seats, restrooms, garbage cans, light poles and sign posts will be installed, together with the drainage system.

More green space is in the works.

A 50-meter wide green zone along Suzhou Creek is under construction. The green space covers 23,000 square meters. It is a great spot to appreciate spring and autumn views. The green space plus an extreme sports area and promenade make the site an ideal place to host sports games and weekend flea markets.

It will join five other parks and greeneries in Changning to form an ecological corridor to provide the public with improved riverside views.

Work is expected to finish by the end of next year on these projects, which also include the Linkong No.1 and No.2 parks, the 400-meter tree belt on the Outer Ring Road, the second phase of the Zhongxinjing Public Green Space and Xinjing Park.

The six parks and greeneries will cover an area of 420,000 square meters in total.

Almost the same time, more than 30 streets with poor conditions got a face-lift which include Tianshan Road, Changning Road, Xianxia Road and Hunan Road. Part of their sections were repaved and with facilities upgraded. Workers did the repairs at night to minimize the disturbance to local transport. Fifty pedestrian paths in Changning will also be renovated by the end of next month.

In addition, Changning leaders were appointed “heads of rivers” in a campaign to clean the district’s rivers and waterways this year.

Party secretary Wang Weiren, district director Gu Honghui and vice director Chen Huawen take full responsibility within the district to get rid of black sludge and improve water quality by the end of the year.

Separate solutions will be drawn up for each waterway in Changning. The Changning sections of the Suzhou Creek, Xinchapu River and Xinjing Port as well as Xinyupu River are the main target of the water clean-up campaign.

The major clean-up measures include dredging polluted rivers, removing floating pollutants and building separate sewerage and rainwater pipes, as well as demolishing illegal structures on riverbanks.

Authorities plan to take various measures, including dividing waterways into several sections to dredge them, rebuilding riverbanks, planting trees and building new bridges and levees.

At the same time, illegal structures responsible for the pollution of some rivers in Changning will be dismantled.

Riverbanks once occupied by illegal houses that discharged waste into the water will get sewerage pipelines.

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