I have been reading and translating texts about the latest effort to clean up (raze and rebuild) urban villages to conform to changing definitions of what constitutes a modern global city, which is, of course, the goal of Shenzhen’s 2010-2020 overall urban plan. Below an excerpt from an online report on the results of a survey to catalogue all the illegal buildings in the urban villages. Of note: illegal status is defined historically, in other words: buildings become illegal over time (either they become dangerous or come into conflict with changing codes). Worth remembering: Shenzhen’s urban villages occupy roughly 4% of Shenzhen’s actual land, but are home to an estimated 50% of the population, and generate a significant percentage of the local economy.
Translation: June 2, last year , the “Shenzhen Municipality People’s Congress Standing Committee’s Decision for Handling Illegal Buildings Left from the History of Rural Urbanization” (below “Decision”) was promulgated, opening another surge of illegal construction in order to take advantage of this policy. According to Decision requirements, there would be a thorough inspection of all illegal buildings in the city to establish an archive of illegal building costs and numbers, to be finished within one year. To date, inspection of illegal buildings has been conducted throughout the city, even as the work of documentation has been accomplished with much fanfare.
By June 2, this year , the basic work of gathering information and recording statistics had been completed. According to the survey results, there are 357,000 illegal buildings left from the history of rural urbanization. These buildings have a total area of 392 million square meters and take up 131 square kilometers of land. 348,000 buildings have already been reported for a report ratio of 97.63%. At the same time on June 8, the implementation of the Decision was in principal approved by the Standing Committee of the Municipal Government and will next go to the Standing Committee of the People’s Congress for final ratification. You Xiping, Xinlang Real Estate, August 17, 2010