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Ban on new housing, malls in Old Quarter

Update: November, 07/2013 - 09:30
Workers repair a house on Ha Noi's Hang Buom Street. More trade centres and new residential areas will not be built in the city's Old Quarter. — VNS Photo Doan Tung

HA NOI (VNS)  — The construction of trade centres and new residential areas will be banned in Ha Noi's Old Quarter from now on to reduce the high population density and better preserve heritage sites, a new regulation has said.

This is among many regulations on preserving and managing the Old Quarter that were issued by the city's People's Committee.

According to the new regulations, underground construction works or entertainment sites such as shopping malls, restaurants and hotels will also be banned in most of streets except for Tran Quang Khai and Tran Nhat Duat streets where the architecture of historical sites will not be affected.

Most of street-front houses in the Old Quarter will not be more than 12 metres in height, an equivalence to three storeys. Houses with an area of more than 70 square metres will be required to have a yard for green space, it said.

In the near future, the city authority will clear the streets by removing advertisement boards and encroachment areas of all houses in the vicinity.

Le Ngoc Lan, who has lived on Hang Ma Street for nearly 50 years, said he totally agrees with the regulation.

"The trade centres or high-storey buildings will definitely ruin the typical architecture of the area and worsen the already-chaotic traffic. The Old Quarter needs to reduce the number of residents living in it, not attract more people from other places," he said.

"Moreover, I think it is difficult for the authority to handle the situation in case of emergency such as fire or electrical leakage," he said.

Nguyen My Linh, resident at Hang Chieu Street, said that the regulation would help bring more green spaces to the area, which has already become cramped and stuffy.

"My house and my neighbours' house are about 60 square metres, but we still grow some trees in our public yard. We need more fresh air in our place," she said.

The Old Quarter is known as an historical site with typical architecture of the old capital. The site is the most densely populated area in the city of 823 persons per hectare. Local residents have faced big challenges such as poor living conditions, downgraded facilities and chaotic traffic.

A plan to move 1,800 households in the Old Quarter to a new residential area in Long Bien District has been finalised. The plan is expected to reduce the population density from 823 people per hectare to 500 people per hectare by 2020. — VNS

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