Residents living in old houses on Changping Road in Jing'an District in Shanghai started to move yesterday to make room for a new bridge crossing Suzhou Creek.
The district government says it's win-win: residents finally say goodbye to the cramped living conditions featuring shared kitchens and toilets and the new bridge will improve traffic and travel times.
Yesterday morning, the first 10 families boarded trucks loaded with their furniture and set off to their new houses in Minhang, Songjiang and Jiading districts.
Each family received a box of gaotuan, a pastry made of sticky rice and stuffed with different ingredients, as gifts, which carries the message of better life in the future.
Under the plan, a total of 18,000 square meters of houses will be cleared and 541 families will be relocated. So far, more than 99 percent of residents have agreed to move, according to Zhou Pengfei, an official of the Jiangning Road Community. Liu Xiaojiu, 82, is one of them.
He used to live in a 9.8-square-meter room and he had to use a chamber pot. He was happy to hear about the relocation but like many other elders, he didn't want to move far.
So, he decided to accept compensation and relocation fees instead of a new apartment in the suburbs. With the help of community officials, he bought a 38-square-meter old unit in the local neighborhood.
The amount is far from enough to buy any new, modern apartment, but it is enough to afford the likes of one in a 20-year-old, six-story building. For Liu, that's enough.
"It's about three times in size and I have my own kitchen and bathroom," he said.
Construction of the bridge will begin after the demolition and relocation ends. The date hasn't been decided.
The 853-meter bridge will link Changping Road with Hengtong Road. It will be open to pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles.