A local government in Beijing has embarked on a plan to renovate and upgrade hundreds of traditional courtyard properties, according to a local media report. The project was launched in June in Dongcheng district and is set to run for three years, Beijing Evening News reported on Sunday. Beijing’s maze of ‘hutongs’: city’s last bastion of communal living The renovation of the siheyuan – traditional single-storey homes built around a central courtyard – will cover almost 1,200 streets and alleyways, the report said, without giving the number of households that will be involved. Yang Xi, deputy director of the district urban management committee, was quoted as saying that as well as providing residents with modern-day essentials, such as efficient drainage systems and air conditioning, the project’s designers and builders will be required to comply with strict guidelines on the use of materials to ensure the cultural and architectural integrity of the ancient dwellings is maintained. How a clean-up campaign is changing the face of Beijing’s Sanlitun bar street These cover everything from the type of bricks to the colours of paint that can and cannot be used, the report said. As well as improving living standards for residents, the programme will also seek to rid Dongcheng’s often overcrowded streets of dilapidated and unlawful buildings. Many of these rickety constructions were put up by migrant workers as shops, bars and eateries, the report said. Urban management officers criticised for tearing down shops’ Lunar New Year decorations Already, more than 30 cafes and souvenir stores on a street near to the Forbidden City have been closed down, it said, adding that they will be relocated to a more appropriate area at a later date.