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The House of Councilors approved a bill Wednesday to revise the City Planning Law so that construction of shopping malls and amusement facilities with more than 10,000 sq. meters of floor space will effectively be banned in suburbs.

The revised law, which has been approved by the House of Representatives, is aimed at preventing city centers from being hollowed out. It will go into effect no later than 18 months after enactment.

If a shopping mall with total floor space exceeding 10,000 sq. meters were to be built outside an urban center, the municipal government would have to reach a deal with residents on changing the relevant laws and ordinances.

The revised law will also help prevent hospitals, schools and other public facilities in city centers from being relocated to suburbs. Such relocations will be subject to approval by municipal governments.

The original City Planning Law, which took effect in 1968, had tougher development regulations for urban centers, which led to construction of large facilities in suburbs. This caused city centers to hollow out.

The falling birthrate, however, has prompted the central government to alter its city planning policy to make it easier for public and commercial facilities to be built in central city areas.

The revised City Planning Law will allow communities to have a say on construction of large facilities that would have a great impact on them, said an official at the Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry.