The construction of trade centres and new residential areas will be banned in Hanoi's Old Quarters from now on to reduce the high population density and better preserve heritage sites, according to a new legal document that include regulations on preserving and managing the Old Quarters issued by the municipal People's Committee.

The document said underground construction works or entertainment sites such as shopping malls, restaurants and hotels will also be banned in most of streets except for Tran Quang Khai and Tran Nhat Duat where the architecture of historical sites will not be affected.

Most of street-front houses in the Old Quarters will not be more than 12 metres in height, an equivalence to three storeys. Houses with an area of more than 70 square metres will be required to have a yard for green space, it said.

In the near future, the city authority will clear the streets by removing advertisement boards and encroachment areas of all houses in the vicinity.

Le Ngoc Lan, who has lived on Hang Ma Street for nearly 50 years, said he totally agrees with the regulation.

"The trade centres or high-storey buildings will definitely ruin the typical architecture of the area and worsen the already-chaotic traffic. The Old Quarters needs to reduce the number of residents living in it, not to attract more people from other places," he said.

"Moreover, I think it is difficult for the authority to handle the situation in case of emergency such as fire or electrical leakage."

Nguyen My Linh, a resident in Hang Chieu Street, said that the regulations would help bring more green spaces to the area which has already become cramped and stuffy.

The Old Quarters is known as an historical site with typical architecture of the old capital. It attracts foreigners with its historic architecture and colorful daily life, with ancient pagodas hidden down dim alleys, street markets, sidewalk restaurants, and shockingly narrow tubular houses with the tile roof, old built moss-grown wall…

The site is also the most densely populated area in the city of 823 persons per hectare. Local residents have faced big challenges such as poor living conditions, downgraded facilities and chaotic traffic.

A plan to move 1,800 households in the Old Quarters to a new residential area in Long Bien district has been finalised. The plan is expected to reduce the population density from 823 people to 500 people per hectare by 2020.-VNA