sábado, 11 de abril de 2009

O planeamento urbano de Macau visto de fora

Urban planning guide published to allay transparency fears

Fox Yi Hu
South China Morning Post
April 10, 2009

Macau has publicised its urban-planning guidelines for 21 zones in response to public demands for transparency in planning and land use.

The Cotai Strip is marked for "comprehensive development" rather than just gaming under the guidelines revealed yesterday.

Lao Iong, head of the urban planning department of the Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau, said more information about urban planning would be gradually made public soon. "We are responding to public demands for greater transparency in urban planning and land use."

Under the guidelines, Macau Peninsula is divided into eight zones with different functions, and Taipa and Coloane islands each into six.

A large part of the guidelines were laid out by Macau's former Portuguese administration in 1980s, but access to these rules had been limited to government officials.

The public have been increasingly vocal in demanding transparency over urban planning in the wake of the Ao Man-long graft scandal.

During the Ao trials, courts heard that planning rules were often ignored or bent by officials to suit developers' needs. Ao, the former secretary for transport and public works, was sentenced in January last year to 27 years in jail for graft.

The government is launching a consultation campaign to seek public feedback on planning rules.

Mr Lao said the guidelines were outdated and needed adjustment, using residents' views.

"Some of these rules have been there for nearly 20 years," he said. "Some heritage protection areas have expanded."

The Cotai Strip, a stretch of reclaimed land between Coloane and Taipa known for glittering casinos, is marked for "comprehensive development" featuring tourism, gaming, exhibitions, logistics, education, science and sports.

This echoes the central government's call for Macau to diversify.

A controversial reclamation scheme to increase Macau's size by one-seventh has not figured in the urban-planning guidelines. Mr Lao said the reclamation scheme was still being reviewed by the central government. Ao unveiled the ambitious scheme in early 2006 without seeking Beijing's permission.

Macau has no jurisdiction over the sea, and any landfill requires the central government's approval.

Under the planning guidelines, an "ocean world" theme park will be built on the northwestern part of Taipa. It will be built in a zone marked for commercial and low-density residential development. However, Mr Lao said there was no timetable for the construction of the park.

"We hope the theme park will be built as soon as possible," he said.

The Guia hill area is named a key heritage protection zone under the guidelines. The Guia lighthouse, part of a UN heritage site, has been threatened by new residential towers around it.

Also named as heritage protection zones are the Senado Square and A-Ma Temple areas. A height limit of 47 metres has been set for buildings around the fortress area, where the St Paul's ruins are.

Taipa's old streets have been marked in the guidelines as a tourist zone where traditional appearance is to be maintained.

Although the central government has given Macau approval to develop a plot of land on Zhuhai's Hengqin island, the guidelines do not feature any plan related to Hengqin.

Mr Lao said any development on Hengqin had to be carried out through co-operation between Macau and Guangdong.

"Hengqin belongs to Zhuhai: we can't make plans on our neighbour's territory," he said.

Zone-specific consultation exercises were being planned to collect residents' views on their own neighbourhoods, Mr Lao said.

A consultation on the revamp of Coloane's old streets is continuing, while two consultations regarding Taipa's old streets and Ilha Verde, or Green Island, are in the pipeline.

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