Pocket parks buffer city stress

By ZHANG XIAOMIN in Dalian, Liaoning and ZHANG YU in Shijiazhuang | China Daily | Updated: 2022-12-05 08:19
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Residents exercise and play table tennis at a pocket park next to a compound in Huli district, Xiamen, Fujian province. ZENG DEMENG/XINHUA

Policy support

China aims to build at least 1,000 pocket parks this year to help solve the problem of a shortage of public green spaces, according to a statement published by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development in August.

Each provincial-level region is required to build at least 40 such parks this year. Local authorities should prioritize the choice of indigenous plants for the parks, and give full consideration to the needs of nearby residents in building these areas, the statement said.

Yang Hongyi, deputy head of the ministry's urban construction department, told China Central Television: "Due to space limitations, it is increasingly difficult to build large integrated parks in cities. Building pocket parks in old urban areas with high-density populations can be an important measure to make up for the shortage of green space and uneven distribution of parks."

In August 2020, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and other ministries and administrations issued a statement aimed at launching action to tackle "areas of weakness" in constructing urban residential communities.

At least one neighborhood park of no less than 4,000 sq m must be built at newly constructed residential communities. Existing residential communities are encouraged to transform marginal, abandoned and idle land into pocket parks.

Local construction guidelines have been introduced in provinces and municipalities.

Early last month, the Department of Housing and Urban-Rural Development in Jiangsu province released such guidelines for pocket parks.

The guidelines state that these parks should be mainly constructed on six types of land: abandoned spaces and land that has not been used for a long time; small plots vacated after the demolition of buildings and other structures; narrow spaces between walls, buildings and sites; small green spaces with a low rate of use, corner areas of roads and bridges, and spaces under bridges; closed ornamental green spaces such as green belts alongside roads; and small squares with a low rate of use.

The department also proposed using information technology to improve the efficiency of pocket park management and service levels.

In September, the Shanghai Development and Reform Commission and the municipal landscaping and city appearance administrative bureau released special supporting measures for the construction of pocket parks and street parks.

The measures state: "Upon completion and acceptance of a project, one-time municipal subsidies will be given according to the project construction standard and construction quantity. The upper limit of the subsidy standard is 300 yuan per sq m."

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