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Community centers help enrich lives of locals

By Hu Qing ( China Daily )

Updated: 2013-10-31

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Zhao Wen, a resident of Chengyang district of Qingdao, never imagined the transformation that would happen in the small wasteland and dirty lake in front of the building where he has lived for many years.

The land, once covered with weeds and piles of rubbish, is now a well-equipped, neat and clean outdoor activity center.

"The changes seemed to be a dream. Before 2011, we would rather make a detour to go home because the lake was full of mud and green slime that gave off such a strong, foul odor," Zhao said.

Nowadays, the muddy water has been made clear, and the rubbish-covered field has been turned into courts for exercise equipment, basketball and football. It is the place that local residents like most.

Zhao's growing pride in his home is shared by other residents of Chengyang district, who report that their living environment has been greatly improved in recent years.

However, the success was not overnight. In a bid to foster a sense of well-being among local residents, Chengyang district has invested more than 700 million yuan ($115 million) to build more than 40 outdoor activity centers and 34 residential community centers since 2011.

"We have attached great importance to the construction of civil affairs projects. The developmental trend for cities in the future is to construct more multi-functional activity centers in residential communities," said Guo Xiaoming, director of the Chengyang Civil Affairs Bureau.

No matter where they live in the district, residents are always a 15-minute walk from the nearest activity center.

The improved community environment and convenient services have also been a tremendous boon to the property market.

In the past, due to the poor environment, housing prices of Chengyang were much lower than the average level in Qingdao. And customers seldom showed any interest.

These outdoor centers are all well designed and constructed, providing a solid role model for the practice to be promoted around the city.

In addition to upgrading the hardware of the residential communities, Chengyang district has also drawn on the experience of Singapore to improve relationships within the neighborhood.

The establishment of the residential community activity centers has not only expanded residents' activity space but also brought neighbors closer than before.


 Community centers help enrich lives of locals

Local residents enjoy sports during leisure time in Chengyang district, Qingdao. The district has taken the lead in developing community services. Photos Provided to China Daily

(China Daily 10/31/2013 page19)