Shanghai guideline to preserve buildings

Updated 2017-07-25 09:14:11 Shanghai Daily

Shanghai is to set up special funds for historic building protection and urban revamping as part of efforts to better protect the city's historic structures.

The city government also said there would be stricter evaluation and supervision of historic building protection.

The measures are part of a new guideline which will be in force from August 2017 to July 2022.

The funds, at both city and district levels, will not only be spent on protection and preservation, but also on the renovation of residential buildings to include basic infrastructure and subsidies for residents.

Under the guideline, the city will study new schemes to let developers convert buildings for other uses while preserving historic structures. Local authorities can hold public auctions or accept bids to transfer ownership of historic buildings, but only if the bidders promise to protect and preserve the structures according to designated plans, it adds.

In addition, each historic building preservation project must be evaluated, well-planned and supervised during renovation, the guideline says.

Though local governments have been paying increasing attention to historic buildings, there has, so far, been no specialized regulation on preservation.

A century-old building on 102 Guangdong Road in the Bund area, for instance, was covered with harmful chemical paint during unauthorized preservation work in 2015.

Huangpu District had to invest a lot of money to restore the unwanted paint job.

To avoid similar incidents, the guideline stipulates that the city's top planning body and housing authority must evaluate historic structures to regulate which part must be retained and how to renovate the rest.

Renovation plans, including the structures to be newly built and construction schedules, must be approved by the authorities beforehand.

The projects will also be under strict supervision and evaluated after completion.

The Shanghai Planning, Land and Resources Administration will collect and work out a general annual plan on all the preservation projects on historic buildings citywide, according to the guideline.

For historic residential buildings, the city will raise renovation standards to improve living conditions.

Shared kitchens and bathrooms, for instance, will be separated for each household.

Residents can be relocated from historic buildings of special value.

In some cases, some residents will be relocated so that the remaining residents can enjoy better living conditions while the historic structures can be better protected.

Shanghai will protect about 90 percent of the remaining lane-style old residential buildings in downtown and demolish the rest as they have "no protection value," the housing authority has said.

According to a recent census of the city's historic buildings, there are 8.13 million square meters of lane-style residential buildings more than 50 years old. Among them are some 7.3 million square meters of lane-style, or lilong, buildings that are of historic value and should be preserved, according to the Shanghai Housing and Urban-Rural Construction and Management Commission.

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