China imposes restrictions on high-rise construction

China is limiting the height to which buildings can be constructed in its smaller cities to try and crack down on vanity projects

China says it is restricting the construction of high-rise buildings in its smaller cities as it attempts to clamp down on “vanity projects”. China has several of the tallest buildings in several cities, such as the 128-floor Shanghai Tower. 

Local reports in China doubted the need for low-density cities to build high-rise buildings or skyscrapers, arguing that they were designed for vanity and tourism instead of practicality and efficiency. 

It is said that the majority of the Chinese social media site Weibo agreed with the announcement, saying that high-rise buildings were “not needed” and described them as “gimmicky”. Currently, in China, there is a ban on buildings taller than 500 metres. 

The country also issued a ban earlier this year on what it described as “ugly architecture”. Zhang Shangwu, deputy head of Tongji University's College of Architecture and Urban Planning, told the South China Morning Post that the nation is “in a stage where people are too impetuous to produce something that can actually go down in history.

Every building aims to be a landmark, and the developers and city planners try to achieve this goal by going extreme in novelty and strangeness,” he added.

New rules set out by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Rural Development and the Ministry of Emergency Management 


The Ministry of Emergency Management and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Rural Developement said cities with a population of less than three million people will be restricted from constructing buildings taller than 150m or 492ft. The new rule was set out in a joint announcement between the two organisations last Tuesday.

The Ministry stated that “special exemptions” would have to be obtained if a city with a population of less than three million wanted to exceed the 150m limit. 

Meanwhile, cities with a population of over three million people will be banned from constructing buildings taller than 250m. In addition, it is possible for these cities to apply to construct a building over the 250m limit, but there will be a stricter constraint on buildings over 500m in height.

The statement from the ministries warned that anyone who approves projects which violate the rules will be subject to “lifelong accountability”, although the circumstances surrounding this were not mentioned. 


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