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Authorities React to New Urban Development Guidelines
   2016-02-24 20:06:49    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Guo Yan

The file photo shows the model of a residential community in China. [Photo:bjghy.com.cn]

China's urban planning authorities have released fresh reaction to a newly-released guideline, which pledges to open up gated residential communities in the country.

The document, issued during the weekend, soon triggered wide discussion, with many expressing concerns over safety and property rights.

CRI's Niu Honglin has details.

 

The government guidelines are aimed at tackling problems associated with urbanization and urban sprawl encroaching on rural areas.

A key aspect of the guideline calls for roads and parking lots in newly built communities to be opened to the wider public, and be added to the urban road system, with older communities also gradually being connected to the public road network.

The idea soon triggered wide discussion.

"I would feel threatened over safety issues. If the cars run through the community, it would also bring safety concerns to the elders and children. And what about the public facilities, the roads and parking issues, who will be responsible for the management?"

"I support the idea in terms of the land itself, because we have to utilize resources and share them. But there need to be improvements in the laws so that they are acceptable to the public."

The measures have also created concerns regarding infringement on residential property rights.

Under the current Property Law, residents of enclosed communities collectively own private roads and spaces within those communities.

Li Linxue, a professor of Urban Planning at Tongji University, says changes to the law are needed if the new guidelines are to be implemented.

"You cannot just pull down the fences and say it's an open community. There is a legal problem in that. These are commercial and residential buildings and since I bought, I own the roads. How can this be resolved?"

To address these concerns, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development issued a written statement on its website on Wednesday.

The statement affirms that the guidelines won't be implemented nationwide in a one-size-fits-all fashion, and that changes won't be secretive.

The ministry explains that local governments need to address different concerns in different regions while implementing the guidelines, as well as taking public concerns into account.

Authorities also vow that while gated residential communities are gradually opened up, resident's legitimate rights will be protected.

The latest reaction follows another one from the top court earlier this week.

Cheng Xin-wen, a presiding judge at China's Supreme People's Court, urged lawmakers to properly address the planned private to public transition, within the legal framework, to facilitate China's long-term urban planning goals.

"With the constant improvement of the law, the legalization of citizens' property right and related protection measures will coordinate well. We will watch the process closely and respond positively."

China began building enclosed residential communities in the 1950's.

However, as the pace of urbanization has quickened, city planners say these developments are hampering effective urban development.

Professor Li says the new measures will help optimize the urban road network.

"This is a big issue in China. We now suffer from a shortage of land. People are finding the land is not being used wisely or efficiently. Open communities could also ease traffic problems."

For now, the State Council guidelines only offer suggestions. How the policy will be implemented still depends on local governments.

For CRI, this is Niu Honglin.

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