Visitors walk and bicycle on the green walkways of Nanjing's Zhongshan Mausoleum Scenic Area. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
Nanjing in East China's Jiangsu province has since 2013 built 863 kilometers of green walkways, transforming abandoned paths and muddy "wild roads" in the city.
Xing Zhengjun, Nanjing vice-mayor, said that the city has undertaken the task to benefit locals and preserve the environment.
"We made specific plans for each of the walkways to ensure that each one has a unique view," he said.
Zhu Shan, a 70-year-old local, said that like many of his friends, he used to walk or jog on the "wild roads" of the city's famous Zijin Shan mountain.
"You could see better scenery walking those 'wild roads'," he said. "But now many of those 'wild roads' have been reconstructed into walkways. They provide the same beautiful view with a safer environment."
According to Nanjing Zhongshan Mausoleum Administration, more than 10 million people visit Zijin Shan mountain each year.
This level of traffic damaged walking paths and vegetation on the mountain, and resulted in a number of accidents.
Cheng Yuning, professor of architecture at Southeast University and one of the project's main planners, said that the move has been welcomed by locals.
"I have walked on those roads several times and found that they provide more convenient transportation and unique views," he said.
Zhu Haiqi, director of the planning and construction department of Nanjing's Greening and Landscaping Bureau, said that the bureau respected local opinion during the construction process.
"We decided to reconstruct the 'wild roads' and some of the abandoned old paths after many surveys. The original muddy roads have been replaced by permeable concrete material that is suitable for the local humidity."
"Seats, trash cans and cafes have been placed along the walkways and the original vegetation and forests have been better protected," he said.
The city has also constructed many of the walkways so that they connect with subways, main roads or local communities.
Xing said that Nanjing will construct another 299 kilometers of green walkways in 2019.