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July 3, 2010

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City likes bamboo house model

SHANGHAI plans to collaborate on projects with Spanish capital Madrid whose successful public housing model is displayed at the Expo, organizers said.

A replica of The Bamboo House, a building specially designed for low-income people in Madrid, has been constructed in the Urban Best Practices Area and will be kept permanently elsewhere in the city.

It is seen as a valuable model that the Shanghai local government's newly launched public housing project can learn from.

Madrid hopes to do some deals with Shanghai in the near future and is also in talks with Hangzhou, a city also experiencing soaring property prices.

Ignacio Nino, director of the Madrid Pavilion, said Madrid embarked on an eight-year project in 2003 that required 50 percent of new housing complexes to cater for public housing, including both rental and sales.

Enough land

He said the project solved the government's problem of not having enough land and buildings to house low-income groups, a challenge Shanghai is also facing.

Madrid provides different standards of public housing, covering distinctive age groups, financial capacity and individual needs, for rent or buying. About 2,200 people out of 15,000 applicants are selected to move into the government-subsidized apartments every year.

For example, a person under 30 who has a monthly income lower than the regulated standard in Madrid, has a chance to rent an apartment for a maximum 200 euros (US$244.32) a month.

The construction of more than 77,000 apartments will finish by the end of next year in Madrid, said Nino.

Also, green technologies -- solar energy and wind power -- have been used in Madrid's public housing. The use of bamboo to clad a building is to stop sunlight from penetrating inside and reduce energy consumption, Nino said.


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