From the distance, in the new town of Sidi Abdellah in Algiers, you can see the red-brown and beige buildings of its Mahelma community. In the evening, you can see some residents walking leisurely on the paths, and groups of children happily playing near the slides. You can also see many excited young people running on the football field, enjoying the game... This is the apartment complex of the Sidi Abdellah government subsidized housing. Since it was completed and put into use in 2019, it has helped more than 10,000 locals realize their dream of living comfortably, and effectively improved local housing conditions.
Since the mid-20th century, Algeria's urban population has grown sixfold. This has strained housing, created squatters, and forced several generations to live together in cramped quarters. To tackle the problems, the local authorities have introduced affordable housing measures.
BENSSADA Loubna's family is a beneficiary of affordable housing. In the past, they had to live in a small old house in the neighborhood of Ain Benian. Today, owning a home of their own is a source of happiness. "In 2019, my family and I moved into the new apartment built by the Chinese. Before that I had been worrying all the time simply because we didn't have a stable place to live.”
"The moment I got the keys and opened my new home, the feeling was indescribable, like starting a new life." Loubna is still excited as she remembers the moment when the houses were handed over. Xuan Shijie, the project manager at that time, told reporters that he had walked around every corner of each housing set. What impressed him most were the smiling faces of those who had moved in and their heartfelt greetings to the builders.
To manage the limitations of affordable housing, China State Construction borrowed the concept of the Barcelona Superblock to make the inner traffic more people-friendly. The privacy of the residents is also well protected. "This is not a luxury project. But we did spend a lot of efforts in materials and the details of the design and facilities to promote residents' happiness," Xuan Shijie said.
Affordable housing also allows more residents to choose to join China State Construction and become part of the construction team, including design engineers, mechanical and electrical engineers, surveyors, drivers, and personnel management personnel. Omar is a local electromechanical engineer who has participated in the construction of several housing projects. He’s worked on the project site for 10 years. He said, "I am so proud to be part of the company and to help improve my compatriots’ living conditions." According to statistics, the company has provided job opportunities for more than 27,000 local people, of which the local employment rate of the Ouled Fayet housing project exceeds 80%.
"The key to sound relations between states lies in amity between the people, and the amity between the people lies in the mutual understanding of hearts." China State Construction has been involved in the construction in Algeria for nearly 40 years. To date, the company has built more than 170,000 dwellings in Algeria, covering an area of about 17 million square meters. It has solved housing problems for nearly 1 million people and in so doing, alleviated the housing shortage and made important contributions to people's livelihoods. China State Construction has laid a solid foundation for cultural exchanges and people-to-people integration between China and Algeria under the Belt and Road Initiative.
(Video source: China State Construction Engineering Corporation)