Commentary

Public toilets, private cash

Since Beijing stopped collecting fees at public toilets a few years ago, building and maintaining the operation of public toilets have become a headache for district governments. To solve this problem, the government of Beijing’s Fengtai District has decided to raise funds for construction of public toilets by allowing investors to use parts of the toilet building for commercial purposes. Two companies had won the bid to build and manage 50 first-class public toilets along main streets and roads of Fengtai District. The new toilets would be three-story buildings, with thesemi-basement and part of the ground floor designated as public toilets and the rest for commercial use. In addition, commercial advertisements are allowed in the toilet areas. Read more here.

Ted Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.