Residents in Beijing, especially those who have lived in the city's older areas for decades, have witnessed changes for the better in recent years.
The city's recently implemented program to remove non-capital functions has created a window of opportunity to improve the urban environment.
As manufacturing, logistics, wholesale and polluting businesses are moving out of the six urban districts of Beijing, more space is being made available to build parks and other public facilities.
The municipal government has taken the opportunity to carry out a program for better urban management, including removing illegal buildings and renovating old residential communities. The move has helped to create a better living environment for locals.
Li Jiangang, 55, a resident in Tieying South Alley in Dongcheng district, is an eyewitness to these changes.
Li is especially fond of gourd, because the fruit is a symbol of fortune in Chinese culture. It is believed that hanging a gourd on your door can bring wealth. He dreamed of growing gourd by himself on a small piece of land in the neighborhood. He said this dream came true this year thanks to the government's program.
In his community, a number of illegal buildings were removed, leaving room for green spaces. Many people have used the green spaces to grow flowers and Li planted gourd seeds along his courtyard walls. The gourd vines grew up in the summer, offering people shelter from the heat with the shade of the widespread vines.
Zhu Xianming from Xicheng district is a photography enthusiast. He likes to use his camera to record the changes in his neighborhood. Zhu said he is especially excited about a newly built mini forest park in the Xinjiekou area. He noted many details in the park, such as the venues for sports and facilities designed for those with disabilities. He has released many of his photos through Tencent's WeChat app and has published dozens of them in several local newspapers.
Na Baoping, 69, is always referred to as Grandma Na by her neighbors. She lives near Dashilan, an area close to Tian'anmen Square. Dashilan is home to many old buildings and time-honored local firms. She said she is now proud of the area as she thinks it is a symbol of the ancient capital of Beijing.
But she was worried about the environment there several years ago, as the area had many problems that were experienced across Beijing - random littering, illegal construction and a scarcity of public service facilities.
She said she noticed the changes after Beijing's environmental improvement program.
"The streets have become cleaner and there are more facilities for the convenience of residents," Na said.
Na herself has also actively participated in the program by taking various volunteer roles. She is always on the street to offer help to visitors and is an organizer of many community cultural activities.