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Outlook Weekly on Short Lived Urban Buildings

Sohu carried an article that Outlook Weekly had originally published about the phenomenon of short lived urban buildings. Li Shaorong, a Professor of Economics at Beijing University told Outlook Weekly that those short lived buildings are not just a serious waste of social expenditures. They also cause damage to the urban culture and historic relics, as well as increasing environmental pollution.

According to the article, China has the largest amount of new construction in the world. Each year it builds 2 billion square meters (21.5 billion square feet) of new construction and consumes 40 percent of the world’s steel and cement. However, the life span of these buildings is short. They last only 25 to 30 years, as compared to the average life in developed countries, which is 80 to 132 years.

The end result of waste pollution is also alarming. Each year, architectural waste in China accounts for 30 to 40 percent of all urban waste. Statistics from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology show that 1.5 billion tons of architectural waste was produced in 2012, while the waste recycling rate was less than 5 percent compared to 95 percent in developed countries.

The article stated that some of those buildings were taken down because of their poor quality or their inadequate condition. However more were taken down because of poor urban planning or because certain city officials sought short term benefits. China Youth Daily conducted a survey in which it interviewed 4,916 people. Over 85 percent of those surveyed said that there were short lived buildings in their city. Over 50 percent of those surveyed said they were dissatisfied with the urban planning in their city.

Source:, November 18, 2013