More green spaces to open to the public in Shanghai
Lin Li, a Shanghai resident living in Changning District, took a leisurely stroll through the greenery area inside the East China University of Political Science and Law on a Friday morning.
She has been a frequent visitor after the university torn down the exterior wall along Wanghangdu Road at the end of last year, as a response to the city's call of opening more green spaces to the general public.
"I live in a nearby residential complex, and a morning stroll brightens my mood for the whole day while the view over the Suzhou Creek is so delightful," Lin told Shanghai Daily.
Some old plum trees and a pavilion are maintained, while the courtyard and greenery covering about 2,000 square meters were renovated with floral landscapes created for the opening.
"It offers a new leisure option to residents nearby and I like walking here," she said.
Shanghai's decision to open more enclosed green spaces aims to make them supplement to Shanghai's overall public green areas, while providing more options for residents to relax and appreciate the nature.
Since November last year, when a guideline on opening the auxiliary space of city-owned entities and enterprises to the public was released, 51 gardens attached to working units were opened to the public.
Their combined space amounts to 580,000 square meters and 16 of them have been turned into pocket parks, according to the Shanghai Greenery and Public Sanitation Bureau.
The target is to get more than 100 entities and enterprises in Shanghai to open their affiliated spaces, totaling about 1 million square meters, to the public by 2025, according to the guideline, and more than 35 will become pocket parks.
The culmination of the city's efforts to increase public green spaces also added to the urban charm of Shanghai.
Lu Weiping, a tourist from Quzhou City, Zhejiang Province, visited the green area of the university on Friday with his daughter.
"My daughter studies law in university and we hope she will be enrolled by the university as a postgraduate student," Lu said.
"It is good that the university opens to the public and the environment is pleasant with a strong academic atmosphere," he added.
It is estimated that over 500 city-owned entities and enterprises in Shanghai have their own green space or gardens, the majority of which are not yet open to the public.
These green spaces are an important part of the city's greenery, but they are "hidden gems" that are only available to their staff, according to city greenery officials.
"This year, four entities in Changning, such as the Changning District Library, have opened their green spaces to the public," said Wei Feng, deputy director of the district's greenery management affairs center.
A pocket park on Wuxing Road in Xuhui District is another example. Covering 1,600 square meters, it used to be the auxiliary space of the Shanghai Research Institute of Sports Science.
"The design draft of the park went through six versions," said Zeng Jun, director of the green space management department of the Xuhui District Greenery Management Center.
"There are certainly management concerns from their operators. So we communicated with them a lot to eliminate their worries via redesigning the green spaces," he said.
"We did not simply dismantle the walls but we made it into a beautiful park that caters to the demand of the public," he added.
There are more than 20 varieties of hydrangeas at the park and a pocket park belt that also includes the Gao'an and Hengshan pocket parks that were formed in the Hengfu (Hengshan and Fuxing roads) Historical Protection Zone, Zeng said.
Jin Yufeng, Party secretary of the institute, said the opening of the space proved worthwhile.
"We had safety concerns at the beginning but we finally decided to enrich residents' sense of gain and offer more green spaces to them by opening the garden," Jin said.
"Greenery authorities conducted several rounds of talks with us on the design of the garden with separation measures to ensure safety, which eliminated our concerns," he said.
"The view is more beautiful after the upgrade and we enjoy the environment as well. The effort was worthwhile."
"In the past, I needed to make a detour when passing by on the way to work, but now, I take a walk through the garden almost every day due to its relaxing environment," said Wang Weiwei, a local resident.
The greenery area at the intersection of Fuxing Road M. and Ruijin No. 2 Road in Huangpu District was previously an attached part of the Minfang (civil defense) Mansion, and it did not allow residents in before 2020.
The walls were demolished in 2020, and the space was transformed into a 1,800-square-meter pocket park.
The greenery space attached to Huangpu District government's venue, the Fenyang Road campus of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, and the Shanghai Research Institute of Sports Science have also been opened to the public.
Last year, the Shanghai Conservatory of Music demolished four buildings and created a beautiful public garden covering 3,300 square meters, using its greenery resources.
By the end of this year, another 40 entities and enterprises in the city will open their green spaces to residents.
Among them is the Shanghai Stadium, which will provide residents with approximately 90,000 square meters of green space, as well as a portion of the green land of the Jing'an Sports Center.
The garden at the Shanghai Research Institute of Culture and History on Sinan Road will also be open to the public.
Meanwhile, the city's greenways stretched to 1,538 kilometers by the end of last year, with another 200 kilometers scheduled to be added this year.