Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Chinese city gets makeover before Asian Games

Beijing, July 7 – Old apartment buildings in China’s southern Guangzhou city are getting a facelift as it prepares to hold the Asian Games Nov 12-27.

To project a better image of the city during the event, the Guangdong provincial capital has been replacing about 1,000 old flat roofs with new red sloping ones made of synthetic resin, according to the municipal Commission of Housing and Urban-Rural Development. The government will foot the bill.
Old buildings here have flat roofs that are always aggravating for those living on the top floor, as the roofs hardly protect them from the summer heat.
A resident who has been living in a top-floor apartment, said his house becomes unbearably hot even with an electric fan on all day long.
‘With the sloping roof to keep the room cool, I now use my air conditioner three months shorter than before and the monthly electric bill has decreased from 200 yuan (about $29) to 90 yuan,’ said Xu Yan.
‘At first my family opposed the project, because shifting was always troublesome, but we found the renovated building more comfortable,’ said Lu Weiming, another resident.
Some households who rejected the project at first, later asked the commission to renovate their buildings after seeing the advantage of the new roof that lasts longer.
However, not all buildings qualify for the makeover, only those along the streets that are more visible to visitors during the games, will be renovated.
‘Before a new roof is installed, an evaluation is carried out to make sure the change will not jeopardize the building safety,’ said Li Guanxing, an engineer with Guangzhou Institute of Urban Construction, Development and Design.
Local building features were considered while choosing the colour of the roof. For instance, buildings in Liwan district are gray, therefore gray roofs are used there instead of red ones.
Not just the roofs, buildings are painted light yellow, Xinhua reported Tuesday.
Guangzhou will invest seven billion yuan to spruce up the city, including renovation of old buildings and roads, said Pi Wenjun, in charge of construction at Zhuhai district.
‘Dirt roads were upgraded to cement roads and there are fewer rats and pests than before. And foul smelling corners, where trash used to be dumped, were replaced with flower beds and golden fish tanks,’ said Lu.

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