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Old neighborhood revamps on course

    A total of 22,800 households had benefited from city revamp projects in old neighborhoods by the end of August, the government said yesterday.

    The number of households benefiting accounts for 91.2 percent of all planned for this year, it said, while the total floor area ready for revamp in the same period amounted to 438,000 square meters, or 87.6 percent of all planned by the end of this year.

    “Previously we laid the preparation work in the first half of the year and started signing contracts with residents in the second half, but we significantly accelerated the work this year,” Huang Yongping, head of the housing and urban and rural construction management commission, told city legislators yesterday.

    Also, by the end of August, revamp projects had started on 8,288 households who had been using chamber pots at home, accounting for 92 percent of all planned for this year.

    The government has vowed to revamp all neighborhoods in worst conditions and leave no household in Shanghai using chamber pots by 2025.

    A report based on investigations by legislators this year was presented by the urban construction and environmental protection committee of the Shanghai People’s Congress yesterday and points to some challenges for the above goal.

    In many of the projects, residential buildings are restructured to ensure that every household has its own kitchen and toilet instead of sharing them with neighbors, but in some cases, residents were not satisfied with the added 2 to 10 square meters to their home and blocked the entire projects, the report said.

    The financial sustainability is another problem. The report warns that such revamp projects almost entirely rely on government expenditure as interest mechanisms have not been designed.

    Another outstanding problem is in legal terms, as current laws ruling housing standards are often at odds with revamp ambitions, the report said.

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