Dedicated urban planning reshaping Yangpu's future

Yang Jian
Cheng Yuanyi is a committed urban planner who has played a key role in maintaining Yangpu's industrial heritage and changing the city's landscape.
Yang Jian
Dedicated urban planning reshaping Yangpu's future
Ti Gong

Yangpu senior urban planner Cheng Yuanyi talks to a resident of Changbai 228 Community, a business complex with well-preserved old buildings.

Amid Yangpu's urban expansion and rapid development, one name stands out as guiding the downtown district toward a more sustainable and lively future.

Meet Cheng Yuanyi, a committed urban planner who played a significant role in transforming Yangpu's landscape and preserving its industrial heritage.

Cheng is in charge of the Yangpu Planning and Natural Resource Bureau's commercial division. Her mission is to transform Yangpu into a contemporary, environmentally friendly and people-oriented district.

Her work embodies the essence of the "15-Minute Community Life Circle," where residents have simple access to convenience and a high quality of life.

"When I walk around the streets in Yangpu, my brain will naturally reflect the planning maps with land indicators," Cheng said.

From an industrial center to a model of urban revitalization, Yangpu is undergoing redevelopment. Its riverside area, which was once home to contaminated vegetation, now radiates ecological vitality and aesthetic appeal.

Cheng oversaw its transformation, which was more than an architectural overhaul and required careful planning and conservation efforts.

She is known for her encyclopedic knowledge of the area and her ability to recall every road and parcel of land. On construction sites, she is frequently seen with zoning maps and blueprints in hand.

Cheng and her team have won multiple awards for their planning initiatives, particularly the redevelopment of Yangpu Riverside.

Dedicated urban planning reshaping Yangpu's future
Ti Gong

The riverside of Yangpu District was the birthplace of China's modern industries, including the nation's first water, electricity, shipbuilding, and textile companies.

The area along the Huangpu River is known as the cradle of China's modern industries, as it was home to the nation's first water, electricity, shipbuilding and textile companies. During the redevelopment of the riverside region, numerous industrial structures, including the iconic Yangshupu Power Plant, were preserved.

As a result of Cheng's planning, the waterfront area is now a digital economy business center for top Internet companies such as Meituan, Bilibili and TikTok. Along the Yangpu waterfront, their new headquarters are swiftly taking form.

Yangpu, a district with a long and illustrious history, also features numerous historic districts, streets and structures. Cheng was the driving force behind the creation of the Historical Building Dynamic Monitoring Platform in Shanghai. This platform enables real-time monitoring of historic structures, thereby ensuring their preservation.

The restoration of the Changbai 228 Community is among her most notable achievements.

This neighborhood, which was once home to 20,000 factory workers, has undergone a significant transformation to become a chic commercial center with boutique stores, restaurants and hotels.

Cheng's team secured a location for affordable rental housing and community services while preserving the neighborhood's historical arrangement. The completed project, which is now a standard for 15-minute communities, exemplifies Cheng's commitment to enhancing the lives of residents.

Dedicated urban planning reshaping Yangpu's future

The redeveloped Changbai 228 Community has become a popular commercial complex.

Seniors rest at a local tavern after dinner, while children play on the central lawn. Longtime residents recall fondly the vibrant red window frames and preserved structures.

Zhang, a former resident, remarked that the 228 Street Community has become a treasured location for locals because it offers a taste of history and a vibrant community.

"Xintiandi and Hengshan Road are a bit far away from here, and the revamped 228 community is a place that brings us a rich nightlife," he said.

Zhang used to reside in the No. 6 building of the community, which is now the "Panda Cafeteria." Zhang can easily recognize his former residence due to the preservation of the structure.

The labor of Cheng transcends brick and mortar. According to the bureau, she influences not only the cityscape but also the lives of innumerable residents.

"I am fortunate to have witnessed the transformation of Yangpu into a benchmark city district, and I will stick to my job to create a brighter future for it," Cheng stated.

Dedicated urban planning reshaping Yangpu's future

The redeveloped Changbai 228 Community.

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