For most people, building a bit of nature in the city might mean planting a garden or having some potted plants, or even a windowfarm. In Beijing however, a wealthy businessman has built an artificial mountain-style villa covering the roof of a 26-storey apartment building, and is now being ordered to remove it or have it forcibly demolished by city authorities.
Former government advisor and doctor Zhang Biqing apparently constructed the sprawling 1000-square-meter complex without permits, complete with pools, fake rocks and real trees during the last six years, despite numerous complaints from building residents concerned about continuous noise, structural damage, water leaks and declining property values.The South China Morning Post reports:
The bizarre two-storey structure, located in a high-end residential compound called Park View in Beijing’s Haidian district, an area of government institutions and universities, has bothered the building’s residents for years. Local newspapers have identified the owner as Zhang Biqing, a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine and former member of a district People's Political Consultative Conference who owns a national chain of acupunture clinics. [..]
Almost all add-on structures or alterations to residential buildings are illegal in China. However, this hasn’t stopped thousands of owners of top-floor or ground-floor properties from adding rooms, and even floors, to their homes, or encroaching into public space by putting up additional walls or fences.
As Al Jazeera points out, do these structures express a "culture of impunity" where laws are not enforced with the rich and powerful? It may, however, finally be changing as incidents like these are increasingly being challenged online by Chinese netizens and via other outlets. More over at The South China Morning Post.