Opinions sought on developing waterfront

Yang Jian
Shanghai's urban planning authority is soliciting public opinions over the expansion of sidewalks on Suzhou Creek and Huangpu River.
Yang Jian
Opinions sought on developing waterfront
Yang Jian / SHINE

A passerby takes pictures of the Shanghai Postal Building on Suzhou Creek during a guided tour along the creek and Huangpu River.

SHANGHAI’S urban planning authority is soliciting public opinions over the expansion of sidewalks on Suzhou Creek and Huangpu River.

The city government aims to create “world-class waterfronts with global influence” that would incorporate creative, pedestrian and eco-friendly atmosphere, the Shanghai Planning, Land and Resources Administration said yesterday.

Sidewalks stretching 45 kilometers on the banks of Huangpu River between Yangpu and Xupu bridges were opened recently. The city government now plans to stretch that path along up- and downstream, while improving the services and scenery on the section that is already open. About 250 locals were taken on a tour of the newly built walking path this week.

For Suzhou Creek, which is already undergoing a campaign to improve its water quality, the government plans to create a long pedestrian stretch and adorn the waterfront and flood-prevention walls with greenery, sculptures as well as public and commercial amenities.

“We plan to convert the once smelly ‘backstreet creek’ into a core activity region,” said Xi Dongfan, chief engineer with the Shanghai Municipal Engineering Design Institute (Group) Co.

A blueprint for the planned sidewalks along Suzhou Creek will be released later this year.

The 125-kilometer Suzhou Creek, which flows from Qingpu District to the Waibaidu Bridge, is the biggest tributary of the Huangpu River. It runs through Putuo, Jing’an, Hongkou and Huangpu districts.

Opinions sought on developing waterfront
Shanghai Design & Promotion Center for Urban Public Space / Ti Gong

Some of the around 250 local residents who were invited to take part in a walking tour along the riverside sidewalks on Suzhou Creek creek and Huangpu River. Their suggestions were being sought on the future development of the waterfront.

Designers have divided the creek into three sections and given them specific features.

The east section stretching along downtown Huangpu, Hongkou and Jing’an districts will have commercial and cultural facilities such as restaurants, hotels, museums and refurbished historic buildings that were once home to China’s earliest industries, said Ding Kuo, a designer at the design institute of Tongji University. Ding will be in charge of planning of this section.

The downstream (east) section near the Waibaidu Bridge has many well-preserved historic structures that are popular among couples taking wedding photos.

The historic Union Church on the south bank, for instance, was built in 1886 for overseas Chinese to pray. The Gothic Revival structure has been converted into a site for cultural performances, art exhibitions, auctions and press conferences.

Other historic structures include the Embankment Building built in 1933 that once sheltered Jewish people who had taken refuge in Shanghai in 1938, and the Shanghai Postal Building, the Baroque-style structure that was built in 1924 with a bell tower on top.

The middle section of riverbanks in Jing’an, Putuo and Changning districts have been occupied by residential high-rise buildings and industrial parks. The planners will try to coordinate with the communities to open part of the waterfront sections to the public, Xi said.

The west section, or the upstream Suzhou Creek that is mainly in Jiading and Minhang districts will be developed into ecological corridors with forests and green lands, he added.

“I think more sculptures and bazaars should be added along the creek and river sidewalks to attract people to the waterfronts,” said Lee Yu-ming, a Taiwan artist.

A local resident suggested planting traditional Chinese plants and flowers rather than the cherry blossoms trees or tulips that remind people of Japan and the Netherlands.

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