From the China Daily (via the People’s Daily) we learn that the number of free parks in Shanghai now stands at 122 after 23 more were opened on April 1. But not everyone is celebrating:
[V]isitors are often hassled by beggars and fortune-tellers, and put off by the smell of urine left behind by someone using the grass as a toilet.
“I’m proud of our numerous free parks, but it would be better if the ugly phenomena could be stopped,” said an elderly Shanghai man in Huaihai Park off the bustling Huaihai Road.
Law and order in free parks are also worrying the city’s park operators.
“According to local regulations on park operations, we cannot take any mandatory measures on those who do indecent things in parks except to try to persuade them to stop,” said Gao Xiangwei, an official with the Shanghai Landscape Administration Bureau.
“The regulations were laid out many years ago and many parts are not in line with the need for maintenance of the increasing number of free parks,” said Gao. Patrols could be introduced to help park managers. …
A lack of cash has also hindered park operations, according to Gao.
The local government has allowed for subsidies to cover the cost of not charging for tickets, but attendance is often more than expected, adding to maintenance and security costs, said Gao.
Do you think the elderly man really said “ugly phenomena”?
Later in the story, we learn this: “Shanghai has spent more than 3 per cent of its GDP on environmental protection in recent years. Its heavy expenditure in landscaping also paid off as it won the ‘National Garden City’ award last year.”
Shanghaiist is excited to live in a “Garden City”! We’re going to go celebrate by playing in the grass at our local free park! Oh wait — that’s not allowed. We forgot.
(Here are some other things that aren’t allowed at Shanghai’s parks.)