Reconstruction of Urban Villages in Shiqi Sub-district Meets People’s Needs and Creates a New Future

To pursue the national rural revitalization strategy and advance the modernization of agriculture and rural areas, the municipal government of Ningbo has placed a high priority on rural development and effectively implemented its action plan for rural revitalization. A new comprehensive urban-rural development is now unfolding to promote high-quality and high-efficiency agriculture, build livable villages, and enhance villagers’ well-being. Secretary of the Ningbo Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China Peng Jiaxue emphasized that the city must take the lead in improving the environment of urban and rural areas and efforts must be made to build beautiful urban areas and livable rural areas, so as to present a good image of Ningbo and fulfill its functions.

No Making without Breaking

Starting from the reconstruction of urban villages, the Shiqi Sub-district of Haishu District, Ningbo, has carried out coordinated plans to improve the living environment and people’s livelihood throughout its administrative regions in recent years, aiming at putting the national rural revitalization strategy and the modernization of agriculture and rural areas into action.

Like many other city quarters, villages in the urban areas of Shiqi Sub-district was once plagued by an array of problems including tough public security situation, a high concentration of illegal buildings, unpleasant living environment, weak infrastructure, and poor sanitary conditions. The existence of such villages had adverse impact on the physical and mental health of local residents and the city landscape as well as hindered the development of Shiqi Sub-district and the city’s urbanization process.

According to Wang Wenlai, head of the New Village Construction Office of Shiqi Sub-district, reconstruction of the old villages is an important livelihood project. Construction of new villages helps mitigate the conflict between residents’, especially singles in older age, demand for houses and limited supply of rural homesteads, improve the living conditions, enhance people’s sense of happiness, accelerate the pace of urbanization, and polish up the city’s public image. The project also plays a major role in breaking the bottleneck in urban environment management and improving public security and social governance.

In 2021, the Shiqi Sub-district will make all-out efforts to seize the opportunities of construction of a National Airport Economic Demonstration Zone in Ningbo and the Yongnan New Living Room, so as to foster high-quality development and lay a solid foundation for the development of Haisu District during the 14th Five-year Plan period. There is no making without breaking. The urban village reconstruction in Shiqi Sub-district is absolutely imperative.

Demolishing the Old and Building the New

Countryside landscape is an important part of urban construction. Led by village heads and thanks to villagers’ cooperation, the reconstruction of Yadu and Fengjia villages in Shiqi Sub-strict was carried out in an orderly manner. Tearing the old buildings is to construct new urban villages with a brand new look. Beautiful flowers in villages of Shiqi are ready to bloom, which is bound to amaze everyone.

Located in the center of Shiqi and surrounded by rivers, the Yadu Village enjoys convenient transportation and booming business. With the improvement of living standards, villagers of Yadu began yearning for a high-quality living environment. Instead of living in a village inside a city, they looked forward to moving into a new residential area with a quiet, clean and beautiful environment. To this end, the village committee of Yadu started to work on a plan for a reconstruction project. Based on villagers’ needs, old houses are planned to be removed for creating a new livable community with convenient transportation, beautiful environment, stylish architecture, complete supporting facilities and efficient public services.

Implementation of the reconstruction plan was not roses all the way. Due to historical reasons, there were many illegal buildings in Fengjia Village of Shiqi. According to relevant regulations on house removal, expropriation and compensation on state- and collectively-owned land in China, proprietors of structures identified as illegal or temporary buildings out of service period shall not receive compensation for demolition. Some villagers found it is hard to accept such results and tried to obstruct the demolition work, which presented daunting challenges for the reconstruction project. Suffered from a sight-losing left eye and painful illness, Feng Yongfa, secretary of the Fengjia Village Party Committee, devoted himself to the project but was misunderstood by the villagers as the village bully and his personal safety was even threatened. Other village cadres visiting villagers for persuasion were threatened and abused and driven out of the villagers’ house. The house door of the project staff members was poured sewage by stubborn villagers. “How can we help the villagers understand that what we are doing is good for the country and the people?” sighed Feng.

The transformation of urban villages is not accomplished overnight. Just as well-known writer Lu Xun put it, we should rise to challenges however difficult they are. The construction of new villages is a key to people’s livelihood and the future, and all-out efforts have been made to tackle difficulties and turn pressure into motivation, so as to ensure smooth advancement of the demolition work. The Yadu Village adopted democratic centralism for the reconstruction project. Representatives of villagers were elected and they worked together with Party members to devise related plans and policies. To persuade villagers who were reluctant to sign the house removal agreement, villagers’ representatives, Party members, and village cadres teamed up and made tireless efforts, for example, more than 50 visits were made to a family that strongly opposed the demolition plan by three successive teams. Thanks to their unremitting efforts for more than a year, the family finally signed the agreement.

Livelihood is what the people cares and where the national prosperity is based on. Improving people’s well-being is what the Party strives for and where government policies are aimed at. With joint efforts of multiple parties, villagers of Shiqi Sub-district gradually changed their mind and gave their support to the demolition work. Thanks to the Party leadership, the villagers’ cooperation, and efforts of the village cadres, tough challenges at the preliminary stage of the reconstruction project have been overcome, paving the way for smooth implementation of the grand plan.

A New Shiqi Underway

This year marks the beginning of the 14th Five-year Plan, and Shiqi Sub-district is determined to work harder to carry out the construction of new villages. Specific works include completing the removal of old structures with a total area of 611,200 square meters in seven villages, namely Fengjia, Yadu, Shiqi, Houcang, Huang’ai, Shangwang, and Tangxi, starting construction of new communities, namely Fengjia Phase I, Houcang Phase I, Yadu Phase I, Huangai Phase II, Shiqi Village, Shangwang Village, and the Tuosu Plot in Tangxi, with a combined area of 1.168 million square meters, and initiating construction of Yadu Phase II and Houcang Phase II with an area about 180,000 square meters with the aim of aligning the new village construction with the overall urban development plan.

The construction of new villages is a practical livelihood project that meets both the people’s needs and the urgent need to transform the urban and rural landscape, noted Qi Yanfeng, secretary of the Party Working Committee of Shiqi Sub-district. With the implementation of rural revitalization in Haishu District, the new village construction has become a priority area on the agenda of Shiqi Sub-district. Based on in-depth investigation and effective mobilization, a work mechanism featuring overall planning at the sub-district level, coordinated implementation at the village level, and extensive participation at the grass root level has been established, and a work pattern of joint construction, co-governance, and sharing together has been formed in advancing the reconstruction project.

Modernization is associated with a city’s public image and character. The Shiqi Sub-district has stayed committed to aligning the villagers’ needs with the reconstruction project, delivering concrete results for the people in the process of the new village construction, and making rural revitalization visible, tangible, and benefiting all.

(Reporters: Zhou Xuehua,Ye Weihong; Correspondent: Cui Xipeng)

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