China advances renovation of old urban residential communities to improve quality of life

An old residential building in Shuangjiang township, Tongdao Dong autonomous county, Huaihua, central China's Hunan province is being renovated, Aug. 31, 2022. Pic: People's Daily Online/Li Shangyin.

An old residential building in Shuangjiang township, Tongdao Dong autonomous county, Huaihua, central China's Hunan province is being renovated, Aug. 31, 2022. Pic: People's Daily Online/Li Shangyin.

Published Nov 24, 2022


The renovation of old urban residential communities is an important task enhancing people's quality of life, as well as a vital part of China's efforts to advance urban renewal.

Improving the environment and services of old urban residential communities is of vital significance for fulfilling people's desire for a better life and promoting high-quality economic and social development.

China issued a guideline on comprehensively renovating old urban residential communities in 2020, in an effort to meet the requirements for enhancing life quality, expand domestic consumption, promote urban renewal and transition in development and construction, and facilitate high-quality economic development.

At the end of the last year, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and other departments jointly issued a notice, saying the renovation work should focus more on quality, reduce its dependence on subsidies from the central government, introduce more social capital and establish a sustainable mechanism.

Zhu Guiying is a resident who has been living in Tangqiuwan community, Yueyang, central China's Hunan province for over 20 years. According to her, the community was always flooded when the rainy season came, and sometimes the ponding could be more than 1 meter deep.

Besides, the sewage would also emerge from underground and emit a terrible stink on rainy days, Zhu said.

Thanks to a pipeline renovation project launched in the community, waterlogging has never happened again.

"It's no longer a trouble for us to go outside when it rains," Zhu told People's Daily.

Ageing pipelines and waterlogging are urgent problems facing many old residential communities. To improve the drainage performance in the Tangqiuwan community, the team implementing the pipeline renovation project applied technical equipment and tailored a targeted upgrading plan based on surveys and investigations.

It divided the pipeline system buried under the community into two sections - one for rainwater and the other for sewage.

Besides, the team built an integrated pump station to drain the ponding in the community. When sensors detect that the water level reaches a preset value, the pumps start working to improve drainage efficiency with a total capacity of 1,300 liters of water every second.

Apart from the pipeline renovation, the team also guarantees follow-up maintenance for the community. According to the team, underground pipelines are nowadays checked by a remote-control mobile monitor that can be sent underground and transmit real-time images. Once the damage is spotted, a robot will be sent to the location and repair the pipeline with ultraviolet coating technology.

The renovation work is not only about facility improvement, but also about service optimization. To enrich the supply of community-based elderly care, childcare and catering services, many cities have started exploring a sustainable mechanism that provides quality services and draws more social participation.

Senior residents dine in a community-based elderly care center in Dayuanxia village, Daruoyan township, Yongjia county, Wenzhou, east China's Zhejiang province, Sept. 1, 2022. (People's Daily Online/Liu Jili)

By introducing social capital, a residential community in Shijingshan district, Beijing has built a cafeteria, a club for seniors, rooftop gardens and a vertical parking system. The programs, including neighboring communities around, form a scale effect and sustainable operation.

Zaozhuang city of east China's Shandong province is also offering favorable tax policies and vitalizing idle resources to attract social participation in the renovation of old urban residential communities.

In the past 10 years, China has started renovating 163,000 old urban residential communities, benefiting more than 28 million households.

A total of 185,000 kilometers of aging water pipes, cables, gas pipes, caliducts and communication wires across the country have been upgraded. As many as 36,000 community-based elderly care, childcare and other service facilities have been built.

Around 219,000 old urban residential communities built before the end of 2000 are expected to be renovated during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025).