Wuyi Road to get 'tranquil and elegant' renewal
New urban renewal projects have started along Shanghai’s nearly-century-old Wuyi Road in Changning District to restore its history and culture while opening up more public space.
Renovations are being carried out on the street, lanes and neighborhoods along the road. Many historical villas on both sides of the road are also being repaired.
The renewal campaign is scheduled to be completed in October to create a “tranquil and elegant” atmosphere along the road, the Changning District government said on Monday.
The 1.7-kilometer-long road, originally Tunsin Road, was constructed in 1925. It is one of 64 roads in the city under protected status and lies within Changning's historical conservation zone. The road features both Eastern and Western architectural styles with garden villas, new lane-style communities and modern high-rises.
Urban planning experts with Tongji University started making plans for renovating an area along the road covering 470,000 square meters in 2019.
“The highest and strictest standards have been implemented during the planning to showcase its nearly-century-old history as well as ensure its future development,” said an official in charge of the project.
The historical area has been divided into five sections to serve the five major industries of the district.
The old factory buildings of Instruments and Electronics (Shanghai) Associates (INESA) will be preserved and become a high-tech park, while the former site of Shanghai Feilo Acoustics Co, the first listed firm on the Chinese mainland, will become an art and culture center.
The center will feature a community activity space, art and cultural exhibition sites, workshops for creative designers and stores displaying and selling artworks.
Cultural performances, exhibitions, art bazaars and handicraft workshops will be held regularly, along with traditional Huju Opera, dramas and comedies.
Feilo was largely unknown outside China until 1986, when a 50-yuan (US$7) stock certificate of the company was presented by former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping to John Phelan, chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, during his visit to Beijing. Phelan then went to the Shanghai Stock Exchange to transfer ownership of the certificate.
A traditional wet market subject to complaints over sanitation issue, has already been shut down on the road. It will become a modern, convenient and recreational market with a 300-square-meter garden at its entrance.
With this and other projects, the future Wuyi Road will become a dynamic street with a comfortable living environment, commercial complexes and office buildings as well as various public services, the official said.
Many residents and tourists complained there were few public spaces along the road where they could slow down and relax, the official said. The current round of renovations aims to meet the needs of the public and open more public areas, he added.
“Visitors will be able to have a seat at a small plaza, sit on a piece of lawn or visit a cultural bazaar on the road to experience the historical ambiance and tranquil lifestyle,” the official said.
To serve the purpose, the walls of some neighborhoods and historical villas will be removed to become small public plazas. Additional greenery will be planted to improve the environment.
As a highlight of the project, the space near a villa at 321 Wuyi Road is being renovated to become one of the plazas. Its gate and fences will be demolished to create a small public square in front of the villa.
Several steps away, a wooden cottage at 305 Wuyi Road will become a public “cultural sitting room.” Cultural activities will be held in the cottage regularly to enrich the lives of nearby inhabitants.
A lawn will be developed in front of a historical villa at 234 Wuyi Road, while many small lanes along the road will be renovated with new illumination and greenery.
Existing businesses on Wuyi Road will be evaluated in order to retain some popular and characteristic stores while bringing in new cultural brands, according to the district government.
The facelift is part of Changning's plan to revamp four downtown roads to improve the environment and highlight cultural heritage.
Xinhua, Yuyuan, Wuyi and Panyu roads, with their historic villas and former residences of famous personalities, are all being refurbished.