More types of historic buildings to be protected

Traditional lane-style buildings, industrial heritage and workers' communities will form a new category of protected historic buildings.

Shanghai will expand the category of historic protection buildings for the next five years to include traditional residential lanes, industrial heritage and workers' communities.

The buildings that can typically represent the city's features in a certain historic period will be added into the listed heritages, the Shanghai Planning, Land and Resources Administration told the city's political advisory body on Wednesday.

The city currently has an estimated total of 44 square kilometers of historic buildings, equivalent to four Century Parks, under protection in downtown areas, along with 401 protected streets, the administration said.

Local authorities will firstly take protective measures to old buildings even though their historic value has yet to be confirmed, an official with the administration said.

The city government has pledged to protect about 90 percent of the remaining lane-style old residential buildings in downtown and demolish the rest as they have "no protection value," the city's housing authority has said.

There are 8.13 million square meters of lane-style residential buildings more than 50 years old, according to a census.

Workers' communities, which were built in the 1950s for model workers, are to be given protected status, the city government said.

The communities were established to accommodate Shanghai's rapidly expanding workforce during a period of industrial development. Featuring 30-square-meter apartments, with communal kitchens and bathrooms, the homes were much sought after and were offered only to the best workers.

However, many of the city's 18 "workers' communities" have fallen into disrepair. One well-known example that survives is the Caoyang Community in Putuo District, which was built in 1951 and provided homes for more than 200 model workers.

Industrial heritage buildings can be renovated or converted into office buildings, commercial sites or fancy hotels. But many others are being demolished and replaced by more lucrative business projects.

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