Great places to linger along Shanghai's riversides

Redeveloped riverside areas in downtown Shanghai will open to the public by the end of the year. They will include parks, sports venues, art galleries as well as preserved historic buildings along the Huangpu River.

Redeveloped riverside areas in downtown Shanghai will open to the public by the end of the year. The areas stretch more than 10 kilometers and cover over 700,000 square meters in Yangpu, Xuhui, Hongkou and Huangpu districts, as well as Pudong New Area. They will include parks, sports venues, art galleries as well as preserved historic buildings along the Huangpu River. Today, Shanghai Daily’s Sophie Wang highlights some of the areas that have already opened.

Huangpu District: future core zone of city’s riverside

The banks of the Huangpu River once contained shipping and transportation facilities for warehouses, wharfs and factories. Now these banks are an ecofriendly public space and a landmark for recreation, sightseeing, tourism and historic protection.

The newly-opened spaces include part of the Shiliupu Dock, also known as the Old Docks. These docks were the focal point of Shanghai’s shipping and trading activities in the 1800s. Now, they contain a cultural park complete with restaurants and recreation facilities. 

The big highlight of this redeveloped area is the “Time Lane,” a multimedia installation that conjures up Shanghai during the 1930s.

In the future, the city government aims to make Huangpu area the core zone of the riverside. Apart from preserving the area’s historic structures, authorities also aim to build a continuous green “slow walk” system along the 8.3-kilometer riverbank. This system will include pedestrian and cycling paths, along with bridges and elevated roads over the river.

Pudong New Area: space for plants, sculptures and sports

The newly opened riverside areas include three new parks in the Qiantan area of Pudong: Community Sports Park, Youcheng Sculpture Park and Qiantan Leisure Park.

Covering 240,000 square meters, Community Sports Park boasts abundant greenery and various courts for exercise. Youcheng Sculpture Park, which occupies more than 100,000 square meters, features sculptures from all over the world. Qiantan Leisure Park, which covers 264,500 square meters, has more than 60 species of plants, including sycamore. Visitors can relax, exercise, fish or even barbecue in the park.

Besides these newly-opened parks, there are also two older but popular parks in the area: Binjiang Park and Binjiang Forest Park. Binjiang Park offers beautiful views of the Huangpu River and the Bund, while Binjiang Forest Park boasts hectares of plants, flowers and lakes, making it suitable for parties and gatherings.

In the future, the Pudong area will be divided into six parts. each part will have a theme: culture, city, art, business, economy and history. All parts are scheduled for completion before next September.

Yangpu District: an open exhibit of local industry

The 15.5-kilometer Yangpu riverside is divided into three sections, and the newly-opened section is about 416 meters long. With a selection of former industrial sites, the area represents an important slice of Shanghai’s modern history.

Seats, barriers and sun shields on the riverside are designed on a base of textile frames. Made of steel ropes and pipes, they are firm and offer a sense of history. There are also seats designed like the traveling bogies once used in factories.

Another highlight is a reed wetland. Several area relics have also been preserved, such as China’s once largest fishing market, built in 1946.

Looking ahead, authorities plan to continue revamping the area’s former industrial sites, recovering riverside lands from companies, as well as demolishing illegal structures along the river. A 300-meter-long plank path over the river at the century old Yangshupu Water Plant, which is still operating, will also open to the public.

Hongkou District: grand views and quiet contemplation

Located at the confluence of the Huangpu River and Suzhou Creek, the North Bund area covers 3.66 square kilometers and has about 3.5 kilometers of riverside walkways. Together with the Lujiazui Financial Center across the river to the south and the Bund area to the west, these three sites represent Shanghai’s business center.

The best place to enjoy the grand skyline, the Oriental Pearl Tower in Lujiazui and the Bund’s timeless architecture is the North Bund Green Land, which is open daily from 6am to 10pm. Near the Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal, the 64,000-square meters green area contains tropical trees, flowering shrubs, several small lawns and a zigzagging lane for jogging. 

About one kilometer to the east, there is another riverside leisure spot near the Shanghai International Shipping Service Center. This peaceful location has several benches along the riverside and makes a perfect spot for quiet reflection.

Looking ahead, Hongkou District is planning to divide the North Bund area into four themed blocks covering 7.15 million square meters. These will include a business and culture block; a historical, creative block; a waterside leisure block and a LOHAS business block.

At present, the public green area before the Shanghai International Shipping Service Center is still under construction. After it’s finished, visitors can walk from Waibaidu Bridge to Qinhuangdao Road Port without leaving the riverside.

Xuhui District: center for art and culture

The Xuhui riverside area is 4 kilometers long and covers more than 240,000 square meters. This area contains not only hundreds of plant species — like cherry blossoms, peach blossoms and magnolia — but also many historic sites. Visitors can also walk on the 345-meter-long Longhua harbor Bridge to take in a beautiful view of the huangpu River.

With Oriental DreamWorks, Long Museum and Yuz Museum, the Xuhui area has become a center for culture and arts. Long Museum has a rich collection of traditional Chinese art, modern and contemporary Chinese art, “red classics” as well as contemporary art from Asia and Europe. Yuz Museum aims to promote the exhibition and development of contemporary art.

In the future, authorities in Xuhui District plan to turn one of the former Longhua Airport’s two runways into a park featuring cycle lanes and jogging tracks. The Runway Park, as it will be known, will run along the west bank of the Huangpu River and have trees, flowers and an artificial creek.

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