Wanted: resident park directors

Expats in Shanghai are welcome to apply for resident park director positions, the city's greenery authorities said yesterday.
Chen Xihan

Resident park directors make suggestions for Yangpu Park yesterday.

Expats in Shanghai are welcome to apply for resident park director positions, the city’s greenery authorities said yesterday.

The duties of such directors include collecting opinions from visitors and forwarding them to park operators, assisting and monitoring park management, organizing cultural activities, and promoting appropriate park behavior.

Eligible directors should be between 18 and 70 years old, be in good health, possess strong communication and organizational skills, and be able to devote no less than 10 hours per week to park duties, according to the Shanghai Greenery and Public Sanitation Bureau. Candidates should also be long-term residents of Shanghai and live near a park. Candidates with volunteer service and management experience will be given priority.

The position is unpaid.

“Expats are very welcome to apply for the post,” Zhu Hongxia, deputy director of the bureau’s park management center, told Shanghai Daily.

“Resident park directors create a bridge between park operators and visitors, and the demands of visitors will reach our management departments more effectively with their help.”

“We also welcome expats with greenery and gardening experience,” she said.

Interested parties can contact their district greenery bureau to apply, explained Zhu.

A citywide recruitment campaign is now under way, she added, although some local parks have already found resident directors.

Xiang Jun, 59, became a resident park director in Yangpu Park in mid May. A frequent visitor to the park himself, the retiree applied to become a resident director after seeing a recruitment notice.

“I have a very deep connection with the park, because I have been visiting it since my childhood,” said Xiang. “There were animals here when I was young, and I played here quite frequently. I’ve witnessed its development and renovation.”

“We were looking for people who are warm-hearted and responsible, and with good communication skills,” said a park operator surnamed Zhang. “All three resident park directors here meet these requirements and they are very familiar with the park.”

The park receives more than 20,000 visitors daily on weekends, keeping Xiang and his counterparts busy as they carry out their duties.

Park managers say they are impressed with the work done by Xiang and his peers. The volunteers have stopped visitors from fishing in the park, and from using tree limbs as “horizontal bars” during morning exercises. They have also gathered suggestions about how to improve the park, including adding more lights and extending the opening hours of a lakeside pavilion.

A nearby resident also recently complained about loud noise at night while his grandson was preparing for his university entrance exam, prompting the resident directors to ask dancers in the park to turn down their music.

“Compared with park operators and security guards, it is easier for us to talk with visitors and stop their uncivilized behavior because we are more like resident visitors,” said Xiang.

Resident park directors can serve for one year, with the option to renew if they pass an evaluation.

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