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Construction of innovation, humanities and ecology in Shanghai’s push to become an outstanding global city

Nov 27, 2017

The Shanghai Municipal Government’s Information Office held a press conference on October 12 on Shanghai’s push to become an outstanding global city by undertaking the construction of innovation, humanities and ecology. Following are the highlights:

Xu Yisong, director, Shanghai Planning, Land and Resources Administration

Cen Fukang, deputy director, Shanghai Planning, Land and Resources Administration

Wang Xunguo, deputy director, Shanghai Planning, Land and Resources Administration

21st Century Business Herald: I have a question on land supply-side reform. The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development has released opinions on the support for Beijing and Shanghai to pilot indemnificatory housing with joint proper rights. According to relevant material from Shanghai, there is not much space left for such land supply, whether one considers the 2040 plan or other documents. Will there be more such land supply in the future?

Cen Fukang: The ministry has released documentation specially to support Beijing and Shanghai’s construction of joint-property housing. Shanghai has launched the work in 2009. In terms of land supply, the plan came out five years ago with the following aspects:

First, Shanghai has been planning to build 22 residential communities since 2009, including common commercial residential buildings as well as indemnificatory units of low-rent housing, public rental housing and joint-property housing. The opinions further stressed the work on joint-property housing. Beijing has launched several such measures already.

Second, Shanghai’s general plan for 2040 specifies the planning and land supply for joint-property housing. Relevant materials have been clearly posted on websites.

Most recently Shanghai released details of the housing development plan in the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020), which highlights the steady growth of land for commercial residential housing, large increase of land for rental housing and guaranteed land supply for indemnificatory housing. The three points are the main instructions on land use, especially in housing. Currently it can be seen that land supply for rental housing is increasing on a large scale and in the future, rental housing will be operated based on the market. Land supply for indemnificatory housing, including joint-property units, is guaranteed.

Jiefang Daily: Director Xu talked about urban renovation. Now Shanghai has plan for three programs, the Shanghai Library’s east branch, the Shanghai Museum’s east branch and the Shanghai Opera House. Why are all the three in Pudong? Besides, a World Expo cultural park under planning is also placed on the banks of the Huangpu River, covering an area of two square kilometers. Why did you draw out such a land lot for a purely public welfare project?

Xu Yisong: Shanghai plans to build a batch of international-level cultural and sports infrastructures during the 13th Five-Year Plan period. They will be unprecedented in number, scale and type. They will be the landmark engineering projects in Shanghai’s construction of an excellent global city as well as the indicators for the city’s cultural construction, the idea of urban development and architecture trends. The branches for the library and the museum will be by the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, around the Huamu administrative center in Pudong while the opera house is designed to be in the Houtan area. The three projects are the key ones in Shanghai’s urban cultural layout until 2020. In the new round of cultural layout, the line between Hongqiao airport and Pudong airport as well as People’s Square and Huamu area are the centers. These projects are significant in boosting the city’s cultural strengths, updating its infrastructure and realizing the goals for cultural development.

The three projects in Pudong area are garnering the most attention, but we have a lot of other projects in Puxi area, such as a children’s library, a city development art museum and the renovation of Wanping Theatre. These are all major cultural projects for the period.

The Shanghai government has been thinking about the subsequent use of facilities after the World Expo and the banks along the Huangpu have been given obvious consideration. We got approval for the structural planning of World Expo buildings in this respect in 2011. And it was specified then that the World Expo area should be a public activity landmark in the 21st century. The area generally includes the Expo Axis and the zone where the event was held. Among them Houtan area has been designed to be an important place to conserve the ecological environment for people-oriented and sustainable development. Combining with the existing Binjiang wetland park, the area was marked to be a green and low-carbon space for public activities that year, based on the positioning to preserve the Expo memories and protect the ecological environment. Then in 2014 we initiated a new round of plans aimed at building an excellent global city with appealing inspiration for innovation, humanities and ecology. The World Expo Culture Park is fundamental to this. We have extended the original green land and further highlighted the ecological environment and culture in the public settings. The positioning we set for the park is that it would be a place with a natural ecological system where cultures integrate and citizens can gather. This also follows the World Expo spirit to understand, communicate and have fun together. It is the best interpretation of “Better City, Better Life”.

A great city makes great parks and the planning and construction for the World Expo Culture Park meet the need for Shanghai’s future development and respond to people’s expectation.

Wenhui Daily: Shanghai has recently added more than 100 spots for street landscape protection. How is the project going and what are the next measures for such architectures? How do you strike a balance between protecting and using them? Thank you.

Xu Yisong: Thank you for your question. Historical and cultural heritages are the soul of a city and an important showcase of the city’s core competence. After the 18th CPC National Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping gave instructions on the protection of relics. They are to be protected like our own lives. The CPC Shanghai Committee and the Shanghai government have been emphasizing the work and this year, strict protection measures were taken for these historical and cultural relics. The majority of them will be retained while only a few will be demolished in exceptional cases.

We pay much attention to the historical buildings in lanes and alleys. The protection system in Shanghai has been arranged in spots, lines and areas. An area totaling 58 square kilometers has been earmarked for such protection, a key section of which would be the shikumen alleys which carry the collective memories of Shanghai.

To strengthen overall protection, especially the alleys which are representatives of Shanghai’s urban history, as well as to prevent the change of city landscape due to demolition and construction, we launched a survey of buildings that are more than 50 years old at the beginning of this year. We sorted the buildings in this process, sought advice from multiple related departments, listened to experts’ opinions and made the findings public. After that, we were able to determine a second batch of landscape protection neighborhood and 131 spots, and asked the municipal government for approval. They join with the first batch to make a total of 250 neighborhoods and cover basically all the alley structures under a certain scale. This is one of our major measures to strengthen landscape protection.

Second, as for the relation between utilizing and protection, we don’t protect them like the way we do for exhibits in a library. Especially for alley structures, we already have cases for their innovative use like Xintiandi, Tianzifang and Jianye Alley. We have switched the idea from structural protection to space and texture protection and we are exploring more protective and updated ways to combine the old with the new.

The Shanghai municipal government has released a document recently on promoting the protection work of historical landscapes. The file encourages flexible updates and better use of historical buildings. The policies promote fine protection while endeavoring to invigorate them.

During the preservation work, we could see that many of the structures have been overused and residents are eager to improve their living conditions. Shanghai municipal departments for housing and urban-rural development, planning and land and resources, development and reform and other relevant sectors are looking into policies to ensure better utilization and protection of such space. Now we are investing more and have raised restoration standards to strengthen the repair work. We solicit the buildings but don’t pull them down and replace housing for residents. In this way, we improve the living conditions for residents in many ways while protecting the historical structures.

Shanghai Radio: Lately Shanghai has been actively engaged in city renewal work with many projects proceeding at the same time, especially in residential areas. Are there any new measures in the pipeline and what will they focus on?

Xu Yisong: In the current phase, renewal is the major way for Shanghai to move forward. Urban renewal is fundamentally a public policy and activity to realize sustainable development of a city. In the renewal we encourage and guide original property and rights owners for new construction. In 2015 Shanghai passed the plan for four major urban renewal projects. And we will move forward in the following three perspectives.

First, under the framework, we will amend and complete Shanghai’s implementation plan for urban renewal. Based on the pilot spots, we further clarify the objects, classification and demands of our work and sort out governmental units responsible for the work and their duties.

Meanwhile, we will also complete relevant land planning policies. It is an important part of our work and we need to stress the public’s interests and implement different supervision measures based on conditions for public infrastructure. Some requirements were made clear in the urban renewal plan. We will manage according to the work’s life circle to take the best advantage of public infrastructure under clear rules.

Second, we will further specify works in urban renewal, based on relevant laws. We will make clear the four major projects and implement the pilot work, which includes Shanghai Institute of Biological Products in Changning and the 160 neighborhood in Huangpu District. On the other hand, Shanghai is part of the second batch of cities nationwide to pilot the city design scheme. We will need to involve our overall picture for the city into specific urban design work. In the next three years, we will implement right projects like the sports park in Xuhui to light up the city with a batch of designs and constructions.

Third, we will expand the types of urban renewal. The ongoing projects are mainly industrial and commercial ones, but we will combine the work we mentioned earlier of historical building protection. We will conserve a large area of landscape and buildings and decide on pilot spots especially in Huangpu and Jing’an where the sites are located. We will also make sure that community functions continue in the alleys while implementing the mechanism and measures for landscape protection. These are the three perspectives of work we will focus on.

Xinmin Evening News: The government has issued the “Policies on the Development of Rental Housing Market”. What measures will the Shanghai Urban Planning, Land and Resource Administration take to support the policy? In the first half of this year, Shanghai overhauled the quasi-housing market. We learned that the residential houses not yet delivered may be converted into rental housing, what about the progress?

Cen Fukang: Recently, Shanghai launched the city’s 13th Five-Year Plan on housing. The plan mainly includes two aspects. The first is to ensure stable and healthy development of the housing market. The second is to build a housing system which promotes both renting and buying.

We will accelerate the work in the following four aspects.

Firstly, we will establish and improve related planning on land use of rental housing and policies on land management. Firstly, we have completed the early-stage 2040 overall planning which will be later implemented in all districts. At the same time, unit planning and control detailed planning will be further improved and revised. Secondly, the municipal government issued the Opinions on Accelerating the Development of the Housing Rental Market. The “Opinions” clarify the plan for rental housing land supply and the requirements of land management. Transforming the residential housing stock into rental housing is part of the detailed regulations on land management which will be launched and implemented soon.

Secondly, we will accelerate land transfer to increase the supply of rental housing. From September to October, we continuously supplied land for rental housing in areas with convenient public transportation and complete public services. By October 10, six of the 15 planned land lots for rental housing have been supplied. The 15 land lots total 50 hectares with a floor area of 1.11 million square meters and are all well-located in downtown areas or areas surrounding industrial parks or transportation hubs.

Thirdly, we are working on revising the plan. Assessment of the planning has been carried out in all districts and control detailed planning has been implemented in certain areas. At present, we have 13 plots included in the control detailed planning. After the adjustment of the plan, these plots will gradually enter the market and will be transferred as land for rental housing. We will steadily and continuously increase the supply of land for rental housing.

Fourthly, we will also strengthen architecture management. We have started a competition for architecture scheme to make rental housing livable and convenient. To build people-oriented, livable and comfortable rental housing, the building layout should be reasonable and compact. The appearance of the building should be simple and beautiful. The building should be built on the principle of being energy-saving and environment friendly. Innovations of architectural design are encouraged. More facilities should be added to meet the demands for property management, convenient shopping facilities, exchange activities, reading, laundry, exercises and so on. A high-quality community space should be offered.

Eastday.com: The material said that Shanghai’s construction land is now in negative growth. What measures will the urban planning, land and resource department adopt when facing demands for real economic development and securing livelihood? What are the new plans for country park construction as part of the city’s land consolidation?

Cen Fukang: The negative growth of construction land is a scientific measure attained by the CPC Shanghai Committee and the municipal government on the basis of the new requirements on resources and environment conservation, tight constraints and the new requirements of transformation and development. The Shanghai Planning, Land and Resources Administration will stick to the four bottom lines of population, land, ecology and safety, actively explore the transformation and green development of mega cities, and strive to establish a model for sustainable development of high-density and mega cities.

In 2014, the municipal government issued a special document to define the basic five measures of land use namely fixed total amount, incremental progression, stock optimization, efficiency improvement of flow and quality improvement. There are three aspects of measures to support the policies:

Firstly, we need to improve the efficiency of land use, deal with idle land and further develop the construction land stock. We pay great attention on improving public space and facilities to realize the aim that citizens will be able to approach all kinds of facilities within a 15-minute walk. In the last two years, we have 96 projects totaling 629 hectares of land included in the stock land revitalizing project and some have achieved periodic progress.

Secondly, we will make room for industrial development by work in two aspects. On one hand, we will reduce the land used for less efficient construction. On the other, we will carry out differential supply measures. Although the new land has been greatly reduced year by year, it is still necessary to ensure land for infrastructure, affordable housing and social livelihood construction. We have reduced the land to realize optimization of the land structure.

Thirdly, we will establish a blank-leaving mechanism to make room for future development strategies. In the 2040 overall urban plan, we have already made preparations for unexpected major events and projects. On one hand, we will leave strategic blank space in accordance with functions of urban regions, make clear the planning for strategic reserved areas, and secure major regional channels and infrastructure on the basis of reserved maneuver index. On the other hand, we will control and adjust the balance of supply and demand of land use in accordance with changing population. At this stage, we are stepping up efforts to promote the supply of rental housing land.

Wang Xunguo: Construction of country parks is an important measure of land consolidation. We have formulated the basic ecological network plan, including the construction of 21 country parks, since the city government made the strategic layout on large leisure spaces and ecological environment construction in 2012. The first batch of seven country parks was under construction then. By the end of this year, Guangfulin Park and six more country parks will open to the public. These parks effectively boost farmers’ income and are a platform to demonstrate rural cultural customs. For example, Jinshan Langxia Country Park has helped local farmers gain income and promoted local customs and culture. The park has hosted marathons for two years, drawing a total 3,000 runners from all over the country. This year, five country parks have received a total of 414,000 tourists during the National Day Holiday.

Earlier this year, Mayor Ying Yong visited country parks and clarified relevant requirements. Next, we will integrate relevant policies, including integration and reduction, homestead replacement, irrigation and water conservancy construction, characteristic town construction, industrial structure adjustment, subsidies for agriculture and other policies. We will fully promote the construction of the first batch of country parks, some of which are already open to the public.

In the process of promoting the construction of country parks, we will keep the natural landscape of the parks, avoid large-scale demolition and ensure public welfare and openness.

STV: I have two questions. My first question is: how are the two ways of commodity housing leasing (bidding and listing) working? Will there be any new way of commodity housing land leasing in the future? The second question is: the material mentions institutional reform for rural land, including the collective operational construction land market entry, could you give us some details?

Cen Fukang: At this stage, we are applying bidding and listing as the two ways of leasing land for commodity housing. In the last six months, we made a preliminary assessment and achieved the expected results.

We have two considerations for the policy: Firstly, we need to stabilize land prices and carry out orderly bidding. Secondly, the future operation and development of the city need more qualified developers, not only to become the city’s developers, but also operators. The comprehensive strength of these developers will be evaluated not only in land prices but also their development and operation.

We have achieved two good results. Firstly, the land market is relatively stable. Both the premium rate and the bidding are reasonable. Land resources are allocated on the basis of marketization. Secondly, in the process of gradually turning city developers into operators, we also found that a large number of big real estate developers with good qualifications and high reputation are jointly working on the development and construction of the city.

Wang Xunguo: The Ministry of Land and Resources is implementing three land reforms: the rural homestead reform, the collective operational construction land market entry and the rural land requisition system reform. The three institutional reforms in the country are still under trial. We piloted the collective operational construction land market entry and the rural land requisition system reform in Songjiang District. The latter has been extended to the end of next year.