Keeping a clean, beautiful environment

Li Qian
One of the most bustling areas in the city, Nanjing Road W. is so clean that people can actually sit on the ground to chat with friends or munch on snacks.
Li Qian

Jing’an Keywords

Jing’an sits at the heart of Shanghai. It represents the essence of the history and culture of the city, home to century-old buildings, big-name attractions, glitzy retail malls and charming art galleries. Annual music and art events give the district a distinctive ambience. In this series, we showcase the highlights of Jing’an.

Keeping a clean, beautiful environment
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE
Keeping a clean, beautiful environment
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

A beautiful corner of Nanjing Road W.

May Keywords:  Keeping a clean, beautiful environment

One of the most bustling areas in the city, Nanjing Road W. is so clean that people can actually sit on the ground to chat with friends or munch on snacks.

It’s all thanks to the strict standards set by local officials for the maintenance of roadways, benches, flowerbeds, litter bins and even utility poles.

Cleaning machines used in indoor venues such as airports and shopping malls are used on Nanjing Road every day, washing and polishing every brick paver on the road.

A 3-kilometer section of the road is divided into 12 zones, and a cleaning team is assigned to take responsibility for each zone. Every day, the teams work 17 hours picking up trash before it has time to accumulate and mar the environment.

Nearly 600 sensors are installed in manhole covers, litter bins, electricity supply equipment and other facilities to detect whether sewers are flooded, litter bins are overflowing and electricity equipment is functioning property. When alerts are triggered, authorities rush to the scene the cope with any problems.

“You have to have set forth standards first,” said an official with the district’s greenery authority. “We specify who does what and how it’s done.”

Keeping a clean, beautiful environment
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

A cleaner tidies up the street

Local authorities also have adopted some innovative methods to make the urban scene more eye-catching. One is an “Internet celebrity” garden.

At the corner of Nanjing Road West and Shimen No.1 Road, stands a beautiful roadside garden that has become a popular photography site. The area previously housed an unsightly ventilation structure for an underground substation. It was an eyesore that clashed with nearby historical buildings and modern shopping malls. So, local officials designed a garden to cover it and improve the urban landscape.

Surrounded by vertical green walls rising 5.5 meters, the garden is now like a courtyard tucked in the concrete jungle.

The walls are covered with vibrant colors from the red geraniums, pink begonia, white baby's-breath and hardy blue-flowered leadwort. The flowers are arranged to meld with patterns on the façades of nearby historical buildings.

The dark grey, volcanic rock ground is embellished with red-leafed maples, cut-leaf Japanese maples and red plum blossoms.

A carpet of pink muhly grass perfectly matches lavender-colored, perforated aluminum panels erected as decoration. They are a nod to Italian painting master Giorgio Morandi, who is renowned for his muted colors and quiet simplicity.

Keeping a clean, beautiful environment
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Each store has nice signage.


Keeping a clean, beautiful environment
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

On Yuyuan Road, which is dotted with historical buildings and boutique shops, signage has been redesigned to display local personality and culture.

Yiyuanqin, a grocery store opened in the 1990s, has a yellow and blue sign featuring cartoon fonts. Yipinju, a 16-year-old hotpot eatery, has a traditional Chinese-style sign board. Eliza Flowers, a florist, has a sign incorporating vintage and natural elements in a simple but elegant sign.

Every one of the 91 stores on the 1,300-meter-long road has unique signage, thanks to the project initiated by the Yuyuan Road Store Alliance.

The alliance of store owners was granted permission to undertake special designs on signage by local authorities.

“Signage represent the culture of the store and the personality of the surrounding environment,” said Hong Xuegang, deputy director of area’s Jing’ansi subdistrict. “We want to create a vigorous community that doesn’t forget its past.”

He said shop owners are clearly told what’s permissible and what’s not.

“We have benefited greatly from the improved environment,” said Lu Wenhui, head of the alliance.

Lu, who runs a creative park called Chuangyi Space, said his facility undertook a mini-renovation, with the blessing of local authorities. It now has a small garden on the roadside, where local people can gather.

“We’ve seen an increase in rents and tenants,” Lu said.


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