iChongqing Title

Good Community Governance Brings Happiness for Residents

By ZHAN CHENICHONGQING|Jan 04,2022

Chongqing- In China’s Chongqing Municipality, great efforts have been made to renovate old communities in recent years. Tucked inside the street of antiquity lies a pearl called the Huhan community. 

Located in the center of the old city of Dadukou District, where the old Chongqing Iron and Steel Factory was located, the Huhan community possesses 2005 households and 6,180 permanent residents. Most of the residential buildings were built in the 1970s, a typical old community in the city.

Huhan community

Construction workers are renovating the buildings. (iChongqing/ Zhan Chen)

In fact, as early as 1938 during the anti-Japanese war period, the original Hanyang Iron Works in Hubei recruited more than 200 engineers and technicians who were scattered in Shanghai, Hubei, and other places, to transport a total of 54,000 tons of equipment and materials to Dadukou District in Chongqing to build a new factory. 

From then, this group of technicians from Shanghai and Hubei stayed here to settle down. To thank these heroes for their sacrifice to the national interests, the place where they lived was named Huhan Village. Until 2002, it was officially named Huhan Community. 

When the iChongqing reporter walked in, a whole block of buildings in red rust color came into view. All the apartment walls were revamped, with gears, pipes, and steel flowers embedded. The designs are to reflect the memory of iron and steel fully because it is considered the legacy of Chongqing in the 1970s. 

 
Huhan community

The external facade of buildings after renovation. (iChongqing/ Zhan Chen)

Memories of Chongqing Iron and Steel

“Our whole family is retired from Chongqing Iron and Steel Company, and we’ve been here for 24 years,” said Zhong Guiying, a resident of Huhan community. “I am very used to living here, especially in recent years, the environment has improved a lot.”

Dadukou District, which was established to serve the Chongqing Iron and Steel Company, was once brilliant because of the steel plant. But now, it is experiencing transformation and rebirth after the factory relocation. How can Chongqing revitalize the old district with rich steel city culture, and how can they renovate old urban communities to improve living conditions? In recent years, the Dadukou District has carried out urban renewal and this year focused on 2000 households of seven blocks of Xinshancun Court, covering more than 40,000 square meters. 

Huhan community

The Huhan community often organizes a series of activities for residents. (iChongqing/ Zhan Chen)

Wang Di, secretary of the Huhan community, introduced that Xinshancun court is the first settlement project community in Dadukou district, is also the first settlement after the Chongqing Iron and Steel Company moved here in 1938. Inside their typical 90’s houses are problems related to aging and ground damage. At the same time, the central government issued policies related to urban renewal, and then he wondered if he could renovate the old neighborhoods.

An old neighborhood with new stories

Talking about the ideas of community transformation, Wang shared his plan and considerations. The first and the most important step is eliminating all security risks, “safety is always the top priority in any work we do,” he said. The second is the community service supporting facilities, such as nursing homes, exhibition areas, etc. The third is changing the community environment and improving the quality of life, and the last is enhancing cultural heritage.

The reconstruction project is divided into two phases based on the initial plan. Phase one focuses on the exterior hardware renovation, including facades, water pipes, wires, and other factors closely related to residents. Phase two is mainly constructing the cultural atmosphere, from appearance unified to cultural centers’ creation. 

Wang always believes that the environment changes people, and he thinks that Chinese people are good by nature with collectivist spirits. Most people understand and support his renovation work. 

Huhan community

One garbage sorting point in Huhan community. (iChongqing/ Zhan Chen)

Regarding the changes before and after renovation, resident Zhong Guiting told us the most inconvenient things in her view.

“Before the transportation was very difficult mainly because the cars can enter in the community, so the place for pedestrians to pass became narrower,” she said, “I can even hear the sound of cars when I sleep at night.” But things have changed, for the better. “Now, cars into the neighborhood are expressly prohibited. It’s much easier for us to go out for a walk.”

Besides, the environment is another thing that most residents mentioned. “Everyone littered before, now thanks to garbage sorting, the environment is much better,” Zhong said.

Community with a good life

According to Wang, this year’s project started in March 2021 and is expected to finish in Spring Festival in 2022. He told iChongqing why this project takes so long; mainly, they fully collect residents’ advice. “About the design of a canopy, we discussed for two months. The final result is the one with a margin and noise reduction,” Wang said. 

Huhan community

Secretary Wang and the community staff were collecting the opinions of residents about the community renewal. (Photo provided to iChongqing)

Through the conversation with some residents, the reporter learned that they are satisfied with the secretary and his team. “Wang always interacts with us in person,” said Chen Guangbi, another resident of Huhan community, “after his arrival, there are indeed great changes not only the community environment but also the people’s lives. He is really a nice man.”

Wang thinks that communication always plays a prominent role in the whole renovation work. Although most residents supported his proposal, a small proportion of the residents don’t understand, especially the inconvenience caused by construction. At this time, the secretary and the community staff will visit house to house to explain the renovation project and round up the residents to discuss the construction plan.

Undoubtedly, all these changes can not be separated from the community secretary and workers’ efforts and ordinary residents. 

Chen Guangbi is the leader of the eco-friendly volunteer team. From this 65-year-old woman, there are more than 300 active volunteers in the Huhan community. “I have more free time after retirement, and I think that volunteers are doing good deeds for everyone. This makes a lot of sense to me,” she said. 

Huhan community

Chen Guangbi, together with her team, cleaned up the community. (Photo provided to iChongqing)

“We basically go on patrol every night, and we use speakers to inform people of fireproof and theftproof,” Chen continued, “also we make community notifications, such as garbage sorting, which is the biggest improvement compared to before.”

Besides the whole community’s efforts, the introduction of policies has also given great support. In the 13th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party of Dadukou District, which was held recently, aiming at the transformation of old communities, next year, 18 projects will be launched. On the other hand, the housing maintenance after renovation will also be discussed. “The construction workers will leave when the project is finished, but our residents will not leave for decades. We have to be responsible for every household,” Secretary Wang said.

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