Residents’ concerns should be heeded

Source:Global Times Published: 2016-2-24 21:43:06

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

The government document is regarded as a road map for China's urban development. The proposed street-and-block system has caused a public uproar online. Opponents believe that enclosed residential complexes are safer. Opening up communities may squeeze their living space as well. For instance, community roads may be occupied by outsiders. Some even conjecture that increasing traffic may pose security risks to residents, especially children and the elderly.

The administrative order is well-intentioned. But the opposing voices reflect citizens' concerns that deserve attention from authorities. In making and implementing concrete policies, the government should take each pair of relationship into consideration.

Already a mainstream practice in foreign cities, the street-and-block system is not new to China. In the past, most residential districts in China were open, for instance, Beijing's hutong and Shanghai's nongtang.

Yet an increasing number of large compounds have been springing up in major Chinese cities in recent years. Enclosed by walls, they have become independent kingdoms. Residents in upscale communities are highly dependent on the internal facilities and services. This, to some degree, has changed city appearances and influenced people's lifestyles.

Unlike many developed countries, where universities and government offices are open to the public, China may have the largest number of walls in the world. This cannot be entirely explained by security concerns. Walls reflect China's unique cultural tradition and people's psychological line of defense.

There is no doubt that opening up enclosed communities in large-populated cities is positive in the long run. Yet we should be aware that this is a tough task which requires time to realize. To smoothly implement the policy, the government needs to put more efforts into guiding the public.

Some corporate complexes with a key location in traffic networks should also be included in the street-and-block system. They should be encouraged to play a leading role in the opening up.

Controversy is unavoidable in improving urban construction. Public opinion should be regarded a source of social vitality.

The article is an editorial of the Chinese edition of the Global Times on Tuesday.

Posted in: Viewpoint

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