Nod for world-class waterfront area

Shanghai plans to further open up its riverside areas along the Huangpu River and Suzhou Creek to be on par with the waterfronts of international cities like Paris and Chicago.
Dong Jun / SHINE

Shanghai’s landmark Waibaidu Bridge, spanning the Suzhou Creek at its confluence with the Huangpu River, is seen against the backdrop of skyscrapers in the Pudong New Area. Shanghai plans to further open up its riverside areas along the Huangpu River and Suzhou Creek to be on par with the waterfronts of international cities like Paris and Chicago.

Shanghai plans to further open up its riverside areas along the Huangpu River and Suzhou Creek to be on par with the waterfronts of international cities like Paris and Chicago.

The move follows the grand opening of a downtown Huangpu River section late last year.

The city’s urban planning authority released a blueprint yesterday for its waterfront development campaign and began soliciting public opinions, a process that will last for a month.

According to the development plan titled “Striving for a world-class waterfront area,” continuous riverside zones will be created along both the Huangpu and Suzhou Creek by 2020, featuring more greenery, preserved historical buildings, cross-river bridges, “sponge city” technology and even harmonious hues.

“Planners have studied 67 popular riverfronts across the world, including those in Paris and Chicago, in designing the blueprint for Shanghai’s waterfronts,” said Wu Panfeng, director of detailed planning at the Shanghai Planning, Land and Resources Administration.

Sidewalks stretching 45 kilometers on the banks of the Huangpu in downtown between Yangpu Bridge and Xupu Bridge have been opened. The city now plans to extend those paths both upstream and downstream, while improving services and scenery on the section that is already open.

Experts have attended six conferences where their opinions for the waterfront development plan were solicited, while some residents have been invited to walk along the river and creek to spot existing problems, he said.

“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 living in the city.

Another local resident suggested planting traditional Chinese plants and flowers rather than cherry blossoms trees or tulips along the waterfronts that remind people more of Japan and the Netherlands, respectively.

According to the blueprint, the Huangpu waterfront — stretching for a total of 61km between the Minpu No. 2 Bridge in suburban Minhang District and the Wusongkou in northern Baoshan District, at the mouth of the Yangtze River — is earmarked to be a “demonstration zone for the development capability of the global city of Shanghai.”

“The Huangpu waterfront will become an international first-class public ‘sitting room’ as well as an ecological corridor,” said Zou Junwen, an urban planner with the Shanghai Urban Planning and Design Research Institute, who is in charge of the Huangpu River master plan.

Different functions such as tourism, shipping, scientific innovation, finance, cultural exhibition, media, ecological living, education and agriculture have been designed for each section of the Huangpu riverfront, Zou revealed.

The 125km Suzhou Creek, which flows from Qingpu District to the Waibaidu Bridge, is the biggest tributary of the Huangpu.

According to the plan, the riverside of the creek is being developed into a multifunctional and dynamic zone, featuring humanities, culture and ecological environment. “Suzhou Creek is known for its narrow waterway, continuous bay areas, many bridges, riverside buildings and roads. These features will be highlighted during the planning for its waterfront,” Wu said.

The riverside walkways along the creek are currently interrupted by 64 structures, either belonging to companies or residential communities. The planning authority will first remove these breakpoints, which will allow residents to walk along the creek freely.

As a highlight of the plan, the administration launched a trial operation for the first time to coordinate the colors and ambience of specific urban regions.

Some “strict color control” areas will be initially set up at historical conservation zones along the river and creek, such as the Bund, where colors of newly built structures will be strictly regulated based on the region’s existing ambience, Wu said.

The administration will issue color guidelines for second-level “key color control” areas. They mainly include waterfront zones that are currently under development, such as the middle and northern part of the Yangpu District waterfront, the South Bund in Huangpu District as well as the Qiantan area in Pudong.

A color negative list will be issued for other areas, such as residential communities and industrial parks, to avoid major color contrasts.

Detailed plans for the waterfronts can be accessed on the official website of the administration (, and the public are encouraged to send their opinions by e-mail to

Local expats are also welcome to give their suggestions.

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