Elevator installations get a lift

An office tasked with installing lifts in old residential buildings opened Wednesday in Putuo District.

The Caoyang Community in Putuo District sprung up 1951 as a home to model workers, forerunner to other workers’ communities that were built nationwide to accommodate the growing workforce during a period of rapid industrialization.

As the population ages, the high-rise buildings which were once a source of great pride have become a source of distress. The lack of elevators has left many elderly residents virtual prisoners in their own homes.

A new office opened yesterday in the community to manage installations of new lifts in old buildings.

The office will collect feedback and attempt to persuade dissenters. It will fairly apportion the cost between lower and upper floors and help residents apply to housing, planning and quality inspection authorities.

“The new office is expected to shorten an application process that can take years to complete without guidance,” said local official Lu Yao.

Construction has already started on seven elevators in three residential communities, Lu said.

Among the 62 neighborhoods of Caoyang, over 40 are comprised of tall buildings without an elevator.

“Until now, it has been up to residents to do everything for themselves, including reaching consensus among neighbors,” said Wang Ping, a property owner in Meiyuan neighborhood.

Installation has started in three of the four buildings in the neighborhood.

Other districts are also experimenting with ways to make it easier for older residents to get up and down stairs.

In Yangpu, Jing’an and Minhang districts “stair climbers” for disabled and elderly residents are a partial solution to the problem.

A wheelchair-like machine slowly climbs up and down with the help of a trained operator. Elderly residents must make reservations in advance. It costs four yuan for a round trip but for the physically challenged the service is free of charge.

In Yangpu District alone, over 22,000 residents, mostly elderly, have used the services in recent years. It would be better to install an elevator, but was seen as too complicated a mission for elderly residents acting on their own.

Special Reports