Village benefiting from 'happy community'

Huaxiazi Hu Min
Smart technology gives citizens access to health and official services, and lifestyle needs are met by commercial providers and volunteers.
Huaxiazi Hu Min

The villagers of Dongxi Village in Qingpu District have thought about for many years to get a convenient access to medical treatment and government services. The needs originated from the village's size and remote location.

Dongxi Village, located on a small island at Jinze Town, is very small. Covering an area of 384,000 square meters, it is home to only about 200 villagers.

It is far from downtown, 70 kilometers from People's Square in city center and 30 kilometers from the central part of Qingpu.

But the difficulties did not deter the villagers, and the quests to improve their lives never stopped.

Now, the wishes have come true one by one, and a "happy community" is taking shape.

Village benefiting from 'happy community'
Huaxiazi / Ti Gong

A bird's-eye view of Dongxi Village

Early one morning, Hu Cailiang, a 74-year-old villager, walked into the community health center shortly after its doors opened.

He had his face scanned in front of an intelligent health machine and put his hand at the blood pressure monitor. In seconds, his blood pressure and heart rate were read.

"I felt a little bit of chest distress last night, so I wanted to test my blood pressure and heart rate," said Hu.

After learning that all his readings were normal, Hu breathed a sigh of relief.

"Medical treatment is so convenient now as all the facilities are at the village," said Hu. "There's no need to visit the town to get a prescription, and here I can even experience traditional Chinese medicine therapy, which is really good."

Village benefiting from 'happy community'

Hu Cailiang tests his blood pressure at the community health center.

There is a hall in the community center covering more than 300 square meters, and it has a sofa and a coffee table. It has become a place for villagers to discuss community affairs.

A self-service vending machine sells beverages and daily necessities, and a community smart tool chest with about 100 commonly used items, like screwdrivers, allows borrowings with a simple card swipe.

A self-service machine with access to government services is also there.

"I received my new medical treatment record manual from the machine within five minutes. It exempted me from the trouble of visiting the town's community affairs center," said a resident surnamed Zhang.

This year, Qingpu is developing a digital approach to achieve a 15-minute comprehensive community service circle.

"Many villagers are seniors who expressed a strong need for medical treatment near their homes," said Xia Wei, Party secretary of the village. "They also needed to do home appliance repairs and sewing and get haircuts, so we set up a station with these amenities."

The station is close to the health center and covers about 10 square meters.

Yang Youxian, 43, was sewing a pair of jeans sent by a villager. "My former job was sewing, but the factory was closed," said Yang. "I did not hesitate to apply when learning a volunteer was needed at the station."

Village benefiting from 'happy community'

Yang Youxian sews a pair of jeans from a villager with joy.

Yu Jianmei, 55, becomes a volunteer barber. "I have operated a barber shop for many years. Although I do not live in the village, I want to be a volunteer for senior residents here," she said.

A cafe that has become popular in the district is located inside a riverside warehouse.

The owner, Wu Xia, once operated eight companies and said she wanted to enjoy a slow life so opened a cafe in the village.

For Wu, she enjoys tranquility and life here more than making profit. "We don't have too many guests, and most customers are business people visiting Jinze," said Wu.

Village benefiting from 'happy community'

Wu Xia enjoys her life in the cafe she opened in the village.

Jinze Town has recently attracted many business investments for the national strategy related to Yangtze River Delta Ecology and Greenery Integration Demonstration Zone. It is in the core area of the zone.

Dou Honggang is creating an art center in an old factory in the village.

Covering 1,000 square meters, it will become the Jinze Art Center with a Jiangnan (areas in the south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River) theme after two months.

"In the future, it will have three functions – a display platform for contemporary art, a guqin teaching spot and Jinze Academy," said Dou.

He has a rich collection of items, including three guqin, a plucked 7-string musical instrument dating back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). People will be able to learn to play it here.

"Jinze is located in the core area of the Yangtze River Delta Ecology and Greenery Integration Demonstration Zone, and it only takes about 10 minutes to drive to Wujiang in Jiangsu Province and Jiashan in Zhejiang Province," said Dou explaining his choice of location for the art center.

"People's pursuit of an ideal cultural life is the hope of an art center," he added.

Also, Shanghai Yacht Club and Camp located along Dianshan Lake in the district is planning an expansion.

A water sports camp site will be built at the village and is expected to start operating in summer next year. It will host children yachting, injecting vitality into the village.

Village benefiting from 'happy community'

A girl wears a smile on the yacht.

The small but beautiful Dongxi Village is just one example of Qingpu District's "happy community" trial.

A total of 20 such community centers like Dongxi Village have been built in 11 subdistricts and towns in the district, featuring about 100 service items.

At Zhangyan Village, a happy neighbor festival was held in a courtyard renovated from an idle parking lot. At Xiayang Subdistrict, a garage terrace has been turned into a gathering place for locals.

A digital approach is featured in the establishment of "happy community."

Intelligent applications such as smart parking, elevator controls and security monitoring are being trialled at 20 communities in the district.

Residents are also able to have more than 100 government affairs service items handled via a mini program with simple clicks on their cellphones.

They can also register complaints or seek help from property management service providers through the program.

In total, 300 such "happy communities" integrating both online and offline platforms will be created in the district in the next three years, said Xu Jian, acting director of Qingpu District.

It is hoped that these "safe, harmonious and beautiful" communities will enhance residents' sense of gain, happiness and security, said Xu.

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