Xiangyang — a Model of City Construction in Central China
XIANGYANG, China, Sept. 18, 2017 /Xinhua-AsiaNet/– Five years have passed since Xiangyang, a city in central China’s Hubei Province, stepped up its urban renovation. The local government has invested over 140 billion yuan (21.3 billion U.S. dollars) in city construction, most of which aimed to improve the living standards of its people. More parks and greenbelts, transportation facilities and cultural landmarks have since been built, bringing a more convenient, healthy and cultured life to all who are living in it.
The 1.13-billion-yuan Panggong suspension bridge, the city’s first cooperative project between the government and social capital, spans 2.7 km and will improve the city’s traffic efficiency upon completion.
“Driving in downtown area will be an enjoyment,” said Chen Long, a citizen.
A 600-mu (40 hectares) land was originally planned as a city park 20 years ago, but its value surged during the period. Sticking to the plan or reusing it for tempting real estate purpose? The government chose the former and invested another 200 million yuan to build a park of 400,000 square meters in the prime area.
Another land in southern city with convenient traffic and pleasant environment was originally planned for a residential building of a government department. But the city governors decided to take it back with a considerable price for a cultural square that are free to all citizens.
For thousands of years, numerous rivers have run through or by Xiangyang. The government’s decision to clean and protect the current nine rivers has made the city’s landscape unique and attractive for the first time in history.
Besides brick-and-mortar constructions, culture is also an integral part of the city upgrading.
Wharves, inherited from the city’s long history of boat shipping, have been restored as entrances to its distinct cultural experience and ecological tourism.
Sculptures of games and leisure activities in the past such as whipping tops, cock fighting and stilt walking, have been erected along the city’s main streets and in public parks.
In addition, five bus lines with illustrations of the city’s landmarks roam the city day and night; dustbins printed with logos of the city’s ancient buildings have been lined along main streets; greenbelts, ecological parking lots and bridge decorations are all story-tellers of the long history of Xiangyang.
An integration of the city’s historical and cultural elements with its urban construction is a guideline that the local government has always stressed and followed, making sure all the buildings can fit into the city’s culture and landmarks while meeting the demands of its people.
Heritage parks with convenient facilities have thus been carefully designed and built. Ancient temples, sculptures and gates are also conserved as valuable witnesses of the city’s past. Renovation of historical blocks is accelerated as well in a bid to promote Xiangyang as a famous historic and cultural city.
At the beginning of 2014, the city government vowed to turn Xiangyang into a city of gardens. Greening has become one of the work priorities over the past three years. Now from anywhere in the city with a sound greenbelt ecological system, one can see green within 500 meters’ walk, a garden within 1,000 meters, and a river within 2 km.
Modern traffic featuring convenient bridges is another characteristic of Xiangyang. Major infrastructure construction has never ceased over the past five years, as the city is determined to improve its road network and comprehensive traffic services.
New bridges and highway interchanges are completed one after another, while a ring road has elevated the city’s overall traffic to a new level. Statistics show that 135 streets with a total length of 205 km have been added or renovated, another 15 streets connected to the city traffic network, 10 overflies for pedestrians and two underground passages completed, and over 100 bus stations upgraded over the years.
Old city renovation and new city construction have been running neck to neck. As of the end of 2016, local government had reached agreements with over 90 percent of the residents living in the five major shanty towns in the city. Soon these areas will be replaced with parks, department stores and high-end office buildings.
With high-speed rail linking Xiangyang and the rest of China, the brand new city welcomes guests from afar.
Source : Xiangyang Municipal Government
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