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Press Release for Media Briefing of the Shanghai Municipal Government on May 26, 2021

May 27, 2021

The Information Office of Shanghai Municipality held a municipal government press conference today (May 26). Yao Kai, Director of the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Housing and Urban-rural Development, briefed the press on the city’s urban renewal progress. Ma Ren, Deputy Director of the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Housing and Urban-rural Development, Bai Xueru, Deputy Director of the Shanghai Municipal Planning and Natural Resource Bureau, Hong Jiliang, Vice Governor of Huangpu District, Zhou Rong, Vice Governor of Hongkou District, Xu Jianhua, Vice Governor of Yangpu District, and Guan Taoping, Deputy Director of the Shanghai Municipal Urban Renewal Center also attended the press conference and answered the questions by journalists.

The Shanghai Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Shanghai Municipal Government have always attached great importance to urban renewal because it could win hearts and minds by addressing the needs of Shanghai’s long-term urban development, improving public well-being, promoting high-quality development, and elevating the quality of life.

1. Major Progress during the 13th Five-year Plan (2016-2020)

Urban renewal includes demolition, renovation, and retention of old buildings. In 2017, Shanghai shifted its focus of urban renewal from demolition to retention and protection. It was clarified that such measures as demolition, renovation, and retention should all be adopted to deepen the city’s organic renewal, strengthen the protection of historic sites, and improve people’s living conditions. Therefore, under the leadership of the CPC, officials from relevant municipal and district departments took an innovative approach to enhance urban renewal. People’s living conditions have been optimized. The city’s organic renewal has been strengthened. Conundrums have been properly resolved. Overall, Shanghai’s urban renewal is accelerating.

(1) Breakthroughs in Urban Renewal. During the 13th Five-year Plan from 2016 to 2020, about 2.81 million square meters of old residential buildings in Shanghai’s city center were renovated, exceeding the target of 2.4 million square meters by 17%. (590,000 square meters were renovated in 2016, exceeding the target of 550,000 square meters by 7%. 490,000 square meters were renovated in 2017, exceeding the target of 480,000 square meters by 2%. 427,000 square meters were renovated in 2018, exceeding the target of 400,000 square meters by 7%. 553,000 square meters were renovated in 2019, exceeding the target of 500,000 square meters by 11%. 750,000 square meters were renovated in 2020, exceeding the target of 550,000 square meters by 36%). Several projects of retention and protection of historic buildings were executed smoothly, including the Zhang’s Garden, the Ankangyuan community, the old town area of Huangpu District, and the Northern Bund area in Hongkou District. Urban renewal has not only improved people’s living conditions but has also significantly optimized the regional environment and overall urban image to attract investment, encourage consumption, and boost economic growth.

(2) Higher Quality of Urban Renewal. By reviewing the urban renewal progress over the last few years, it could be discovered that in general, Shanghai could complete 70% of its annual task in the first six months of a year, and the remaining 30% could be finished by October. Urban renewal is accelerating. 99% of residents involved would quickly agree to sign contracts to green-light urban renewal projects. In other words, the majority of people took an active part in it so that many of the projects could be launched efficiently. Overall, the urban renewal tasks in all relevant districts are going forward smoothly. The number of large-scale projects and the amount of completed renovation have both reached a historic high.

(3) Optimization of Urban Renewal Policies. The Shanghai Municipal Government issued a document in 2020 with several recommendations for promoting urban renewal, articulating supportive policies, optimizing working mechanisms, clarifying the responsibilities of district governments, and strengthening coordination among government departments. 15 other government documents, concerning land policy, finance discount, and tax break, were placed under this umbrella to build a “1+15” policy system to accelerate urban renewal.

(4) Improvement of Working Mechanism. The mechanism of the city’s urban renewal management has been improved. The Shanghai Municipal Urban Renewal Office has made a considerable contribution since it was assigned the responsibility for policy research, coordination, and conundrum resolution. The mechanism of the city’s urban renewal execution has also been improved. The Shanghai Municipal Urban Renewal Center was established to execute such projects as renovating old residential buildings and regenerating urban villages.

(5) Challenge Resolution. Shanghai expanded its sources to raise funds for urban renewal. With the support of state departments, the city made full use of special government debt to guarantee the funding for municipal and district projects. 122.4 billion yuan of government debt was issued during the 13th Five-year Plan (30.99 billion in 2016, 3.75 billion in 2017, 18.15 billion in 2018, 33.68 billion in 2019, and 35.84 billion in 2020). The Shanghai Municipal Urban Renewal Center was granted 238.8 billion yuan of banking loan apart from its own investment of 28 billion. Meanwhile, Shanghai worked harder to handle the 30 leftover urban renewal projects in the city center where compensation for house demolition was not completed. These projects involved 528,000 square meters of old buildings and more than 36,000 households. 11 of the 30 projects started the renovation by the end of 2020, including the third phase of Zhongxingcheng in Jing’an District, No. 1 and No. 7 plots on Xinchang Road in Huangpu District, Zhonghai 70 community on Jianguo Road in Huangpu District, and No. 129 and No. 130 communities in Yangpu District. These projects involved 269,000 square meters of old buildings and 21,000 households. Officials have drawn up plans to handle the remaining projects.

2. Overall Target and Major Tasks during the 14th Five-year Plan (2021-2025)

The urban renewal tasks in Shanghai are now at a critical stage. Guided by the philosophy of building a city of the people, by the people, for the people, relevant municipal and district departments will spare no efforts to execute urban renewal tasks so that large clusters of renovation projects could be completed as scheduled while extra attention will be granted to those smaller ones.

(1) Overall Target

Shanghai plans to complete the renovation of more than 1.1 million square meters of old buildings in large clusters from 2021 to 2022. 56,000 households are expected to benefit from the renovation.

Shanghai plans to complete the renovation of 484,000 square meters of old buildings in small clusters during the 14th Five-year Plan from 2021 to 2025. 17,000 households are expected to benefit from the renovation. Shanghai will try to reach this target ahead of schedule.

(2) Major Tasks

I. Refinement of Plans and Targets. 2021 marks a critical year of urban renewal tasks in Shanghai. According to the overall target, the status quo of the remaining projects, the city’s three-year plan from 2020 to 2022, Shanghai will complete the renovation of 700,000 square meters of old buildings in large clusters in 2021, involving 34,000 households. The renovation of the remaining 400,000 square meters home to 22,000 households will be completed in 2022. Relevant districts will be responsible for ensuring funding sources, making renovation plans, finding houses for relocation, and employing working teams.

II. Refinement of Policies and Working Mechanism. According to the reality of urban renewal, Shanghai will continue to refine its policies and working mechanism, including those concerning classification and retention of historic buildings, judicial enforcement in urban renewal, and transfer of floor area ratio. Coordination will be strengthened so that urban renewal officials, state-owned enterprises, administrative bodies, and judicial authorities can join hands to accelerate the execution of urban renewal tasks.

III. Expansion of Funding Sources. Apart from the special government debt, relevant municipal and district departments in Shanghai will accelerate land lease to ensure adequate funding for urban renewal. In other words, a plot will be leased soon after the urban renewal project on it is concluded to raise funds for future projects. The Shanghai Municipal Urban Renewal Center will continue to look for funding sources by cooperating with enterprises based on its annual renewal projects and its capital demand. Shanghai will also invite private investment into urban renewal projects.

IV. House Expropriation Management. Transparency is a must when it comes to expropriating houses in urban renewal projects. Officials must follow the ten recommended methods of house expropriation when they work with the residents involved, including careful survey, perspective-taking, and constant communication. Management of house expropriation compensation must be refined so that monetized resettlement could account for an appropriate proportion in urban renewal projects. Management of the team responsible for house expropriation should also be strengthened. Their professional capabilities should be elevated by frequent training sessions and team-building activities.

V. Post-renewal Development. By executing urban renewal projects, we not only help people improve their living conditions but also set aside extra land resources for the city to attract investments, implement projects, gathering industries, and develop functions it needs. The planning for urban renewal plots and resource balancing plots must be combined with overall regional planning. The protection of historic features and the development of plots must be balanced. Based on the principle of regional, dynamic, and long-term balance, the efficiency of using urban renewal and resource balancing plots must be elevated. Improving people’s livelihood and promoting economic development must be well connected when it comes to implementing urban renewal projects. House expropriation, future planning, land lease, and construction must move forward simultaneously.

VI. Strengthening Protection, Deepening Renewal, and Preserving History. We should deepen urban renewal. By following the relevant requirements by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-rural Development and abiding by Shanghai’s urban renewal regulation, we must make sure that the urban renewal tasks involving large clusters are completed. Based on this prerequisite, we should then focus more on the retention and protection of old buildings although such measures as demolition, renovation, and retention should all be adopted. This working method should be summarized and promoted. We should strengthen the protection of the city’s historic features and improve their classification and retention. Apart from executing urban renewal tasks and improving people’s livelihood, we must do as much as we can to preserve the city’s historic sites and features so that the precious memory could be passed on from generation to generation. We must also try our best to preserve the city’s spatial texture and urban structure. Shanghai issued last year a trial guideline concerning the retention and protection of historic buildings in urban renewal areas. Based on this document, we will draw up local standards and strengthen management and control. In this way, we can effectively enforce the retention and protection of historic buildings during the entire process of urban renewal projects, from planning to construction and to operation.