Work begins on Expo Culture Park
City officials and residents took part in a tree-planting ceremony today for the construction of one of Shanghai's largest downtown parks at the former World Expo 2010 site in Pudong.
It marks the beginning of a batch of new cultural and sports facilities that are set to open or start construction by the end of the year.
The Expo Culture Park, covering 1.88 square kilometers along the Huangpu River, is designed to become “an ecological natural forest park incorporating new cultural landmarks,” such as an opera house and a world-class conservatory garden, the city’s top planning body said.
The strip-shaped riverside park will be free to the public. It will cover an area from the Lupu Bridge to Longbing Road in Pudong — right opposite to the West Bund in Xuhui District.
It can be reached by Metro Line 13 (Shibo Avenue Station) and Line 7 (Houtan Station), according to the Shanghai Planning and Land Resource Administration.
The World Expo 2010 pavilions of Italy, France, Russia and Luxemburg will remain in the park. They will be redesigned and renovated to preserve the cultural legacy of the Expo, said Lu Yuexing, director of the Shanghai Greenery and Public Sanitation Bureau.
The Italy and Luxemburg pavilions are now the Italy Center and holds exhibits of Italian arts and culture. The pavilions of the other countries that stretched over 6,000 square meters have closed down after the end of the Expo.
The planned Shanghai Grand Opera House in the park will take up 79,300 square meters, while the conservatory garden will occupy up to 30,000 square meters. Outdoor forest and grassland theaters will be built around the opera house to create an iconic cultural site along the river.
Other landmarks in the park include “twin hills,” one of which will be built with recycled construction wastes and garbage at a former industrial site. The conservatory will be built on a hill and will showcase the plants and vegetation that exist in the frozen, hot and desert climates.
There will also be a “colorful” forest of 18,000 arbor trees of various species. The forest, including 750 existing trees, will show different seasonal colors on the leaves. Among them, trees with yellow and red leaves will take up an area of 76,000 square meters. It is designed to become the best sightseeing spot during spring and autumn.
Waterways and wetlands will create a water recycling system along with a “rainwater garden” and “ecological ponds.” Rains and flood water will be accumulated and purified with water plants and soils, according to the government.
The park is also part of the citys government’s Sponge City Blueprint, which aims to store rainwater with water-penetrating pavements, green rooftops and wetlands.
Elsewhere in Pudong, the eastern branches of the Shanghai Museum and Shanghai Library will be built in the Huamu area. They will work in concert with the main site in downtown.
On the west side of the Huangpu River, the Xujiahui Sports Park, which is based on the existing Shanghai Stadium, Shanghai Gymnasium, Shanghai Swimming Pool and Dongya Mansion, will become the city’s largest sports venue.
A new art gallery will be built in Gubei area, Changning District, and will be named after the Chinese calligrapher, painter and cartoonist Cheng Shifa (1921-2007).
The Wanping Theater in Xuhui District, which was built in 1988, is being demolished and rebuilt. A new theater is scheduled to open in 2019 and will be the venue for Yueju Opera.