By Liu Leyi, People’s Daily
In a pocket park in Shinan District, Qingdao, east China’s Shandong province, the grounds are painted to resemble piano keys, and over 30 types of flowers and shrubs are flourishing. Piano melodies are always resounding through the park.
“I never thought that the pocket park would be so snazzy, and now it has become a ‘back garden’ for the residents,” said a woman surnamed Zhang that lives in the neighborhood, who’s delighted every time when seeing the colorful paintings and flowers in the park.
In Baoding, north China’s Hebei province, there’s a displaced plant-turned pocket park called Yinxing Park. According to local official Zhang Qingfei, the park was built the last year and the transformation only took two months. There are currently 41 types of plants in the park so that it always looks green throughout the year.
Pocket parks are often constructed in fragmented urban spaces for sports, leisure, and entertainment uses. In recent years, their prevalence in Chinese cities has increased. Built on brownfields, on irregular pieces of land, and around residential buildings, they offer extra green spaces for urban dwellers.
As one of the most accessible types of park, pocket parks present beautiful natural scenery for residents. Besides, they also come with smart equipment and related supporting facilities that help meet residents’ demands for leisure, entertainment, sports, and social interaction.
Every morning, Hao Xinhua, a senior citizen living in Hedong District, north China’s Tianjin municipality, does physical exercise in a nearby pocket park. She told People’s Daily that what attracts her there is not only its proximity to her home but also the 11 pieces of fitness equipment that were newly introduced to the park last year.
According to Wang Ruigang, an official with Hedong district’s sports bureau, the 11 sets of fitness equipment include a leg massager, an upper body pulley system exerciser, etc. Every piece of equipment comes with a screen and can be connected to the phones of the residents. After the residents input their personal information, the smart equipment can generate individualized and professional fitness plans.
“Compared with traditional equipment, these are smarter, more tech-ish, and more interactive,” said a resident named Li Wenming. According to Li, a park is also a place where his neighbors meet.
The construction of these parks is not the finish line, but the starting point of maintenance, which is very important for benefiting surrounding residents in a sustained manner.
A pocket park in Hanjiang district, Wuhan, central China’s Hubei province, has invited local residents to help with its management, hoping they could discover and solve the common problems faced by pocket parks.
Resident Lyu Jun, who currently serves as a “director” of the park, said he would go for a walk at the park every afternoon for inspection, from which he has learned many new plant species.
China is striving to make its cities more beautiful, greener, and habitable. According to a 2021 national bulletin on land greening status released by the Office of the National Greening Committee, China has built over 20,000 pocket parks and more than 80,000 kilometers of green lanes. The per capita area of parks and green spaces for urban residents stood at 15 square meters.
An official with the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development introduced that China will keep building a well-balanced park system and strive to make it possible for its residents to “see greenbelts every 300 meters and parks every 500 meters.” The country will also improve the leisure, sports, and emergency shelter functions of urban parks and green spaces, the official said.
Besides, China will enhance its management of urban gardens and strengthen oversight over relevant matters when they are being handled and after they have been handled, so as to promote the high-quality development of urban landscaping.