History to be preserved in renovated Waitanyuan

District official highlights importance of culture and innovation on visit to area undergoing a facelift.

The ongoing renovation of Shanghai's Waitanyuan area aims to draw more innovators and artists while preserving its historic buildings, the Huangpu District government said on Wednesday.

Waitanyuan, literally "the origin of the Bund," is studded with famous buildings such as the old British Consulate, the Union Church and the Fairmont Peace Hotel.

The 1.6-square-kilometer area, which is cut through by Beijing Road E. and was a major site for ironmongery, also has a quarter which is home to an electronics industry park formed in the 1990s.

In future, the Seg electronics market will hold international forums on intelligent manufacturing and be built into a research and development and training site for businesses and entrepreneurs from the industry, according to the government.

The market, with a total area of about 100,000 square meters, will also serve as an exhibition and trade center.

A "world-renowned robot manufacturing project" has been established there, the government said.

Gao Yun, the Party secretary and head of the Huangpu District government, said during a visit to the area that it should also include elements such as financial services considering its vicinity to the Bund financial district.

On the cultural front, Gao said the area will "restructure functions and create icons to preserve the city's cultural history."

In preserving old shikumen neighborhoods, which typically have shared toilets and kitchens, the government said a good example has been set at Chengxingli, a shikumen complex on Huanghe Road near Beijing Road W.

There, a shared laundry room with washing machines and racks has been built and all households will have their own toilets and kitchens, while architectural features of the old buildings will be preserved, the government said.

Special Reports