The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and National Administration for Rural Revitalization issued instructions on accelerating rural housing and modern village developments.
The Instructions fully recognizes the importance of rural housing construction and modernization in village developments. Since the 18th National Congress, China have been implementing the renovation of rural housings in poor conditions, and ensure documented households in poverty’s living conditions are guaranteed safe. The housing conditions and living environments are rural areas have been largely improved. However, the design and construction level for rural housing and rural community building still need to be improved. It is crucial to accelerate the modernization of rural area, improve the functionality and quality of rural housing, and increase the construction of infrastructure and public service facilities to improve the overall built environment for rural areas, building livable villages, and continue improving peasants’ living quality, and fulfilling peasants’ satisfaction, happiness, and security.
Due to the drastic differences among temperature, precipitation, topography, as well as type of major agriculture activities in the villages, building the villages can be obviously different while sharing common goals and bottom-line requirements. The instructions indicate the common principles in advancing in rural housing and village modernization.
1.Avoid natural disasters during site selection. Avoid disaster-prone areas, avoid geological hazard danger zones including torrents, mudslides, and possible mountain collapses. Do not build on steep slopes, gullies, flooding areas and other disaster-prone areas.
2. Adhere to eco-friendly, environmental-friendly, and neighbour-friendly constructions. The construction of rural housing and villages should respect the ecological context including mountains, waterbodies, forests, lands, lakes, and grass, emphasize the interaction with natural and agricultural landscape. Do not dig mountains and fill lakes, do not damage water systems, do not cut old trees, and conform to the topography. The construction of rural housing should be carried out in parallel with environmental improvement, focusing on improving the rural housing service facilities and village environment, and encouraging new rural housing construction gather in villages with complete infrastructure and public service facilities, superior natural conditions, and beautiful landscapes. The layout of rural housing should promote the harmony of the neighbourhood. Try using the existing homesteads and empty lands to build rural housing, build a beautiful space pattern with neighbours and form a natural, compact, and order rural housing community.
3. Improve the design and construction level of rural housing. The construction of rural housing must be carefully designed first, and then constructed according to drawings. It is necessary to coordinate the functions of the main house, auxiliary house, courtyard, etc., and carefully allocate the space layout to meet the storage of production tools and other needs. Extract the wisdom of traditional architecture to resolve issues including sunshine space, building insulation and heating, ventilation, and lighting according to local conditions, as well as promote energy saving and emission reduction. Adapt to the needs of modern life of the peasants, to gradually carry out the separation of accommodation and living space, the separation of dining and accommodation, and the separation of clean and waste. Newly built rural housing should include hygienic toilets, and promote flush toilets in accordance with local conditions. Encourage the design and construction of barrier-free facilities, and fully consider the functional requirements for aging population. The building foundation, structure, wall thickness, building structure, etc. of the newly built rural housing should adapt to the local economic development and construction conditions, and meet the requirements of safe quality and earthquake resistance. Encourage the of local materials, using rural materials to promote the use of green building materials. Encourage the selection of safe and reliable new construction methods such as fabricated steel structures.
4. Create and environment that keeps “nostalgia”. Establish a village historical and cultural heritage investigation and evaluation mechanism, fully excavate, preserve and inherit the cultural heritage and intangible cultural heritage. Protect and improve the villages’ historical and ecological environment. The construction of rural housing should respect the local style and regional characteristics, and carefully create the key elements including the buildings’ shape, colour, roof, walls, doors and windows, and decorations. Newly built rural housing in traditional villages should be coordinated with traditional buildings and surrounding environment, and build a village environment full of local characteristics. Extract the characteristic elements of traditional dwellings and inherit outstanding architectural traditions. Enhance the quality and improve the indoor lighting conditions of traditional dwellings, and ensure their structural safety and fire safety. Encourage the development of homestay inn and tourism industries, to further enhance the preservation and utilization of traditional villages and dwellings.
5. Improve the appearance of the village. Use the rural housing as the main body, using natural landscapes such as ancient trees and ponds, as well as cultural landscapes such as archways and ancient temples, to create a village with local characteristics. Protect the inherent rustic flavour of the village, encourage the planting of fruits in the front and backyard. Keep the streets clean, and ensure that there are no broken walls, or chaotic constructions or dumping, to build a clean, tidy, and orderly rural space. Value the layout and construction of the village’s public activity space, and coordinate the rural appearance and characteristics.
6. Promote water supply into rural housing. Ensure the water supply goes directly into rural housing and ensure the safety of the supply. Improve the water supply conditions in accordance to local conditions, and reasonably determine the water supply mode, water supply pressure, pipe fittings, etc. based on the scale of water supply. Ensure the cleanness and safety of rural water sources. Where conditions permit, villages adjacent to cities and towns could be included in the urban water supply system.
7. Promote rural domestic sewage treatment in accordance with local conditions. Rural areas should adopt miniaturized, ecological, and decentralized sewage treatment models and treatment techniques, reasonably determine discharge standards, and promote the utilization of rural domestic wastewater as resources nearby. For villages with dispersed dwellings, focus on the transformation of sanitary toilets to promote domestic sewage treatment, and encourage the villagers to use the treatment. For villages with large scale and dense population, centralized treatment could be adopted. Where conditions permit, villages adjacent to cities and towns could incorporate into the urban domestic sewage treatment system. Reasonably organize the villages’ rainwater discharge form and path.
8. Advocate rural domestic waste sorting. Inherit the rural “no-waste” production style and lifestyle, further improve the collection, transportation, and disposal system of rural domestic waste. Use the sorting system as a starting point to promote the reduction of rural domestic waste at the source and turn waste into treasure. Optimize the sorting method of rural domestic waste, use or sell recyclables, decompose organic waste on the spot, standardize the disposal of toxic and hazardous waste, and adopt waste collection system for other waste. Use townships or administrative villages as units to build a batch of comprehensive regional rural organic waste disposal and utilization centres. Establish a village cleaning system to ensure that the villages are cleaned.
9. Promote innovation in rural energy use. Guide rural areas to continuous reduce the use of traditional energy sources, such as low-quality coal, straw, and direct combustion of fuelwood, etc. Encourage the use of clean energy that suits local conditions and farmers’ needs. Promote the application of solar system, photovoltaic and other technologies and products, to promote the green and low-carbon transformation of energy consumption for villagers’ daily lighting, cooking, heating and cooking usage. Promote the delivery of gas to the rural areas, and support the construction of safe and reliable rural gas tank storage stations and micro-pipe network gas supply systems. Promote energy-saving renovation for existing rural houses.
10. Improve the completeness of public service facilities. Re-adapt and reuse vacant rural houses to provide space for public activities, to reduce the cost of building public buildings and expand the channels to provide spaces for villagers’ public activities. Encourage the comprehensive utilization of village public activity facilities. Outdoor public spaces could also be used for gatherings, cultural and sports activities, crop drying, as well as parking. Indoor public spaces, besides the ones must be set up independently, could also include childcare, elderly care, gathers, village history exhibition, cultural and entertainment functions, etc. Village roads and other infrastructure should meet the production and living needs of villagers. The road should be paved smooth and level. Regions where conditions permit should actively promote broadband internet services, communications, radio, and television into households.
11. Strengthen the construction management of rural housing and villages. Establish a complete process management system for rural housing construction that includes design, approval, construction, permission, and use. Standardize the administrative procedures for village and rural house design, construction, and use. Clarify the main body of responsibility, and ensure that it is properly managed. Fully implement the integrated model of duties, responsibility, and accountability mechanism, to ensure the quality and safety of houses. Explore the establishment of a craftsman training and management initiative, strengthen the training of management and technical personnel, and enrich the rural construction team.
12. Develop activities to jointly create a beautiful environment and happy life in-depth. Taking the practical and trivial matters of improving the living environment for the people as the starting point, and the establishment of a rural governance the system as a path, to jointly build a beautiful home. Fully respect and protect the rights and interests of peasants during the process of village construction. Establish an evaluation system for villagers’ satisfaction on village construction, support and guide the villagers to participate in the construction and maintenance process of their homes.
The instructions also established requirements to guide the organization and implementation of the instructions. It includes strengthening organizational leadership, developing an implementation plan, and actively carrying out pilot projects to representative villages.
Translated by Fan Junyi