First stage of Taopu Central Greenbelt to open soon

Putuo District will soon open the initial phase of Shanghai's largest downtown public greenbelt, which features natural landscapes and its industrial heritage.
Ti Gong

An artist’s rendition of the Taopu Central Greenbelt.

Putuo District will soon open the initial phase of Shanghai’s largest downtown public greenbelt, which features natural landscapes and its industrial heritage.

The Taopu Central Greenbelt, to cover a total of 500,000 square meters upon its completion in 2020, is being built on the former site of a number of China’s earliest industrial plants.

The first phase of the northern part of the project covers about 150,000 square meters south of the Hujia Expressway.

The design of the green area is inspired by Hyde Park in London and Central Park in New York. The park themed “Floating clouds and water” will incorporate traditional Chinese cultural ideas such as painting, calligraphy, dance and tai chi.

Standing on the top of an artificial hill of the greenbelt, dubbed the “second tallest mountain” in the western downtown, visitors can see the former site of the city’s once popular “peony ink” factory, a soap factory, a paint plant and the famous “White Elephant” battery factory.

Industrial heritage has been preserved. The city’s earliest rubber plant on Dunhuang Road, for instance, will be converted into a visitor center for the site. A statue of Chairman Mao at the former factory has been preserved.

Visitors can also find some historical sites on or near the greenbelt. Not far from the initial phase of the project, a Hanta Pagoda, originating in Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), has been well-preserved.

It is said general Han Shizhong (1090-1151), who devoted his life to fighting invaders, once trained soldiers beside the pagoda.

The greenbelt is part of Taopu Smart City, an “intelligence and innovation zone” being developed on the city’s earliest chemical industrial park. Taopu chemical park has housed companies such as the Hero Pen Factory and Shanghai No. 1 TCM factory since the 1950s.

The Hero pen factory has been retained within the smart city to show the development of a typical state-owned enterprise.

The future smart city, covering 4.2 square kilometers in the core area, will gather companies working on Internet technology, intelligent science and entrepreneurship to create a “scientific and innovation center with global influence,” according to the district government.

The government has been relocating factories, recovering land and cleaning the soil that was been contaminated by its former occupants.

As a highlight, the greenbelt features a water system that can purify contaminated land automatically.

About 650,000 cubic meters of soil and 160,000 cubic meters of groundwater in the area have been cleaned, more than half of the total task.

Taopu was among the first chemical industrial parks in Shanghai.

Set up in 1954, its development of industrial enterprises was at its peak in the 1980s when Hero pens and locally produced perfumes became popular in the city.

The district government launched the Taopu scientific and innovation zone in 2014 to replace high polluting factories and give a major facelift to the industrial region.

Apart from the greenbelt, constructions are ongoing on an integrated pipeline system, a high-tech commercial and business park and a US international school.

The smart city project is expected to help Taopu, literally “peach river,” once an agricultural village featuring a small creek and peach trees on both sides, to return its original idyllic state.

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