Central Beijing’s first transformed shantytown welcomes back residents

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The transformed shantytown of Baiwanzhuang North Block in Beijing’s Xicheng District recently held an opening day for its resettled residents. The residential area now has 90 types of European-style apartments, all of which are equipped with 24-hour hot water, garbage collection, and other basic household features. By the end of the year, Baiwanzhuang North Block aims to welcome back 237 households to their new homes.

Started at the end of 2013, the shantytown transformation project of Baiwanzhuang North Block is the first of its kind in central Beijing, and also the first one to welcome back its residents. The project has relocated about 4,400 people from 1,242 households, 97 percent of whom agreed to improve their living conditions through overall reconstruction. More than 70 percent of the residents have chosen to move back.

As an important part of upgrading Beijing’s urban functions and environment, the shantytown transformation in Xicheng District has accelerated remarkably this year, accumulating precious experience on key issues such as site planning and the settlement of residents.

Before the transformation work began, Baiwanzhuang area was filled with worn-down buildings and makeshift houses. To ensure a satisfying resettlement experience for all the residents, 90 house types were creatively designed in over half a year to ensure that each household is appropriately matched with its new home. The rebuilding project has won a Beijing municipal award for the innovative designs of its structures.

The transformed community has been named “Baiwan Garden” and has spacious buildings, open platforms and beautiful rooftop gardens. The solar panels in the community supply 24-hour hot water to every household. The heating system is equipped with manual valves to save energy.

Furthermore, the residential area is installed with complete security systems capable of dialing emergency calls, detecting gas leaks, and performing video surveillance.

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