Shanghai's first transformation project for "urban villages" has begun in Baoshan District.
The district government said yesterday old village houses would be replaced by modern residential buildings.
Construction started on Wednesday on 10 modern residential high-rises in Kangjia Village in Miaohang Town, where hundreds of village houses are being demolished due to fire and security risks.
Some 900 original households in the village will move to the newly built 18-story buildings in the modern community after the completion of the project, according to Chen Liang, deputy director with the district's housing bureau.
Urban villages usually appear at borders of downtown and outskirt regions in the city. They are often inhabited by the poor and transient because they offer cheap accommodation, but the villages suffer from overcrowding, safety concerns and social problems.
There are more than 40 urban villages citywide, all of which are scheduled to be revamped.
Kangjia Village is among the first batch to be transformed to improve the living conditions and environment of the villagers. A further five projects in Baoshan will start soon to benefit 1,400 households in local urban villages.
Kangjia Village was deemed an "outstanding village" in the 1980s and served as a major housing source for the city's agricultural workers.
However, the living environment deteriorated after an increasing number of out-of-towners began to rent accommodation in the village.
Illegal construction became rampant — worsening living standards and hygiene conditions, said Chen.
The proportion of local villagers to out-of-towners reached 1 to 12 by 2013, according to the township government, when more than 25,000 out-of-towners were living in Kangjia.