“Three Nets” Protect the “Old Property” of Historic Buildings

Released on:2018-06-07


Photo: a UAV is “escorting” historic preserved buildings. (Photo by Reporter Yu Ruwen)


(Text by Reporter Xing Beilin) Among the 1.57 square kilometer area under the jurisdiction of Jing’an Temple Sub-district, 85% of the area is historical view preserved area with 101 immovable cultural heritage buildings in 53 places, and 277 superior historic preserved buildings in 50 places. Faced with such crowded superior historic buildings, immovable cultural heritage buildings and buildings in historical cultural view area (hereinafter referred to as “3 Preserve” buildings), Jing’an Temple Sub-District put forth effort on the management system and mechanism, as well as means and methods. On the one hand, in the sub-district level there set up a working team for cultural heritage buildings protection, and in the level of residential community and relevant law enforcement teams there structured a normalized mechanism of “every day report, every week discuss, every month summarize”. On the other hand, man force and technology were utilized together in preservation to weave the “three nets (net of people, net in the sky, net on the ground)” closely, in order to protect the precious “Old Property” of historic buildings well.


Net of People: “Community Woodpeckers” make inspection tours every day


The snack shop Fuchun Xiaolong on Yuyuan Road is an old and famous shop welcomed by residents around, but it was accused to the Housing Management Office of the sub-district not long ago. In January this year, in order to improve business environment and to enhance competitive power, the shop owner decided to fit up the shop before Spring Festival, so as to attract a large customer flow by a new look. The “community woodpeckers” of Siming Resident Committee sharply noticed that the snack shop is located in a superior historic building, and thus, according to related provisions, must have the renovation plan reported, examined and approved beforehand. However, this shop began renovation in a hurry without examination or approval. Therefore, it was soon reported and the renovation was stopped immediately.


The “community woodpeckers” who noticed the renovation of Fuchun Xiaolong are the “3+X” link team formed by the sub-district last year. They build a “net of people” of historic buildings’ protection and management covering the whole sub-district.


The sub-district links “the two nets” of city management and grid Party building, and realizes the deep integration of the grid of Party building at the community-level and the grid of community governance. The managing work of “3 Preserve” buildings is brought into the daily managing work of “integrating the two nets” of the sub-district. A regulatory team is made up by three forces separately from the Housing Management Office, the Urban Management Squadron and the resident community. The social co-governance forces of property service companies, community co-construction units, public welfare volunteer teams, etc. are aroused to form a link mechanism of grid field inspection, probe inspection on road surface and inspection of all functional units.


As the “live probe” and the “bodyguard” of historic buildings protection and management, these “community woodpeckers” must go on a tour of inspection for historic buildings every day. Once the historic buildings are found renovated without permission, the case should be reported to sub-district grid center in two hours. As for the permitted and legal renovation of historic buildings, the “community woodpeckers” should still follow up and inspect at least once a week, and illegal behaviors should be reported in time. This managing mechanism of a string of repression, report and feedback can effectively contain any damage to historic buildings in the first phase.


 “Many residents are unaware that they are living in historic buildings.” After Social Development Office of the sub-district found out this condition through visiting investigation, the office checked all the “3 Preserve” buildings in the sub-district completely, conducted house-to-house propaganda and had the residents signing on a notice and a protection agreement to make sure all the residents in “3 Preserve” buildings are acquainted with the protection level of these buildings.


Net in the Sky: Drones Regularly Take Aerial Photographs to Obtain Evidence


According to a related staff in the sub-district, old age has caused varied degrees of leakage of rain and water in many of the “3 Preserve” buildings. Some residents have renovated their houses by stealth to improve life quality. To raise the rate of discovery of such abnormal situations, the sub-district started using two drones to regularly inspect all the “3 Preserve” buildings. In case of any doubtful destructive behaviors, the drones specially took aerial photographs to obtain evidences. The drones became a pair of “clairvoyance”, eliminating the blind spot in aerial supervision of the administrative department.


Recently, a warmhearted resident volunteer found that a historic preserved building in Liuying Cun was experiencing renovation. When cadres from Resident Committee visited it, the house owner explained that he had just made a “little fitness” to the house without changing the architectural structure. This building is different in architectural style with other buildings, and the original design drawing sheet had been lost long ago. Also, the high-rise house made it impossible for cadres to check the roof structure; therefore it was unable for them to judge the owner’s words.


After this case was reported to related departments of the sub-district, the Housing Management Office of the sub-district united with the Society Development Office and the Urban Management and Law Enforcement Squadron, utilizing drones to take aerial photographs. Through the photos, the roof structure of the building was “clearly seen”. Also, the office actively contacted City Construction Archives of Shanghai to retrieval and to check the design drawing sheet. Contrasting the design drawing sheet and the building, it was confirmed that the owner had not destroyed the structure. “Using various intelligent means like drones, we have raised the rate of discovery of abnormal conditions of the protected buildings”, said a staff of the sub-district. Since the experiment began, the sub-district has discovered 67 problems of different kinds in protection of immovable cultural heritage, and executed management and disposal for 101 times. Also, the sub-district has discovered and reported 199 problems in historic buildings protection, in which 82 cases are related to signing renovation contracts. Through these works, the sub-district kept the “red line” and the “bottom line” of “3 Preserve” buildings’ protection and management.


Net on the Ground: “Historic Buildings Protection Bodyguard” Reacts to Abnormality Automatically


 “The ‘3 Preserve’ buildings in our sub-district can ‘talk’”, said the person in charge of the Housing Management Office of the sub-district. The “talking house” is a result from the utilization of intelligent “Historic Buildings Protection Bodyguard”. In November, 2017, aiming at the hidden renovation of “3 Preserve” buildings, the sub-district erected the “structure displacement dynamic monitor positioning sensor” (the so-called “Historic Buildings Protection Bodyguard”) on the facades of the buildings, drawing support from Internet of Things and sensor technology to utilize real-time linkage with the grid center platform.


On the facades of many “3 Preserve” buildings in Alley 182, Fumin Road, reporter saw some black boxes in the size of matchboxes. According to a staff of the sub-district, this is the so-called “Historic Buildings Protection Bodyguard” that can react to abnormality automatically. Through the real-time data from automatic monitor sensors, the grid center can make systematic analysis on the safety condition of buildings, and alarm or react to the abnormal vibrations of the houses promptly, finding out all the destructive behaviors like illegal renovations.


Until now, the sub-district has set up 235 monitor positions on 37 buildings in Alley 113, Changshu Road, Alley 182, Fumin Road and Alley 395, Yuyuan Road. In the future, the sub-district is going to make further efforts to raise the application ratio of “technological protection” and expand the application range of this system.


Still, the person in charge indicated that the sub-district will strive to carry out standardization and institutionalization in next phase. While accelerating the improvement of “One Building, One File” managing system and enhancing the level of fine management of “3 Preserve” buildings, the sub-district will dig the connotations of old buildings. While emphasizing the construction of superior culture streets as Huashan Road and Yuyuan Road, the sub-district will enhance the idea of “more participation, better protection” and encourage more social organizations, public welfare organizations and residents to escort these “old houses” full of stories together.