By Luciana Leitão

Today’s Wednesday Site is about traditional neighbourhoods in Macau and why they are still something to be cherished and not demolished.

The Industry and Commerce Federation of Macau Central and Southern District is requesting the government to change the height limits of the buildings located between Patane and Barra. According to the news, published in the Portuguese and Chinese media, the president of the Federation, Fong Kam Soi, says that the Government should allow buildings at risk to be rebuilt and turned into higher buildings, so as to allow the elderly to have better living conditions. The president says such buildings need elevators, to allow the elderly to go outside the house more easily. One of the examples he mentions is S. Lourenço neighbourhood.

The reasons the Federation invokes for such request are noble, but there must be some other way. My favourite spots in the city are these traditional and historic neighbourhoods, precisely because the buildings are smaller and still have some sense of tradition preserved.

You don’t see sky scrapers everywhere, which could be built anywhere else in the world. These are small, have no elevator and hold these strange metal structures outside the balconies.

Small and traditional is being replaced everywhere in Macau, as we all know. Higher interests are being claimed for such changes, some of which are not so noble as the ones invoked by this Federation.

I understand the elderly situation and I do agree that some of the buildings, located in these historic neighbourhoods, must undergo some kind of renovation works. But is it really necessary to ask for the government to eliminate or change such height limits? I tremble just at the thought of what the Industry and Commerce Federation of Macau Central and Southern District has in mind.

Let’s hope the government bares in mind the need to protect what still holds some of Macau’s essence. In a few years time, I want to look at Macau and recognise some of its traditional features. I want to look at it and think of home.