11 Jing'an backstreets to get a makeover
The Jing’an government is sprucing up 11 backstreets that connect to bustling Nanjing Road W. Each will have distinctive features based on their location, history and culture.
Backstreets are encoded in the city’s DNA and the epitome of urban humanity and urban culture, according to Charles-Edouard Bouee, CEO of German consulting firm Roland Berger which drew up the Jing’an blueprint.
The streets will deliver the unique city culture, offer multiple experiences, create people-oriented public spaces and pioneer new things, which echo the global trends of developing urban areas, said Jiang Hao, vice president of the firm’s China office.
He added: “They are not the same old commercial streets. Instead, they will form a lifestyle that you are longing for.”
Roland Berger has studied examples of how other world-class shopping streets developed their backstreets.
Jiang gave an example of London’s Oxford Street where the backstreets offer shopping and entertainment alternatives in terms of book stores, theaters and food. Tucked away in the crowded Ginza shopping area in Tokyo, there are many time-honored stores. Surrounding Fifth Avenue in New York, more than 500 high-tech startups have set their offices, forming a neighborhood called “Silicon Alley,” he said.
The firm has proposed a “Three Belts, Three Axes, Two Streets” layout for the Nanjing Road W. backstreets.
Yuyuan Road, Nanyang Road and its adjoining Fengxian Road, and Wujiang Road form the “Three Belts,” from west to east.
Yuyuan Road is dotted with former residences of celebrities, traditional alleyway houses and garden villas. Lifestyle stores, such as a dessert bar, book cafe and workshops to teach painting, flower arrangement and tea ceremonies, will be introduced.
Sculptures reflecting local flavor will be erected in public spaces.
Nanyang and Fengxian roads are right behind the old-established and high-end shopping malls Westgate Mall, CITIC Square and Plaza 66.
This section is to be young and trendy with the introduction of boutique stores, designer brands and popular eateries. Cherry trees will be planted to make it a popular place to take photos.
Wujiang Road, known as a food street, will embrace the latest retail trends by introducing self-service stores, pop-up stores and other crossover projects.
The “Three Axes” are Shaanxi Road N., Jiangning Road and Tongren Road.
Shaanxi Road N. will be a place for local time-honored fashion brands. It will have haute couture stores, exhibition centers and workshops for visitors to experience traditional skills.
Jiangning Road, home to historic Majestic Theater, the modern Yihai Theater and popular immersive theater McKinnon Hotel, aims to rival New York’s Broadway or London’s West End. While Tongren Road, opposite to the Jing’an Kerry Center, is set to be home of high-end galleries, elite museums and auction houses.
The “Two Streets” are Weihai Road and Xikang Road.
Weihai Road holds local media giants, Shanghai United Media Group and Shanghai Media Group, and emerging industrial players such as co-working space pioneer WeWork. Weihai Road will become an incubator for digital media.
Xikang Road will be an international sports neighborhood. Centered on Jing’an Gymnasium, 24-hour self-service gyms, sports retailers and healthy diet restaurants will be introduced. Taixing Road and Maoming Road N. will become a popular nightlife area for having two entertainment venues and meeting places Zhangyuan 99 and Fengshengli.
Another two landmarks in the area are the Paramount ballroom and 800 Show where Shanghai Fashion Week is held.
Jing’an has been working for years to turn Nanjing Road W. into the equivalent of the Champs-Elysees in Paris, Fifth Avenue in New York and London’s Oxford Street.
Today, retailers on the road sell more than 1,800 brands, more than 60 percent of which are international brands. Retail sales rise about 10 percent every year. The road is also home to 22 regional headquarters.
Nanjing Road W. has grown mature, and it is time to explore how to develop backstreets, said the district director Lu Xiaodong. “Nanjing Road W. is well capable to feed its backstreets, which in return will keep the whole commercial area dynamic.”