Ambitious plans for Putuo's ancient town

Yang Jian
Zhenru Town, which can trace its origins back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279), is being developed as a "public activity center" for the Yangtze River Delta region.
Yang Jian
Ambitious plans for Putuos ancient town
Ti Gong

An artist's rendition of the Zhenru subcenter in Putuo District

Shanghai’s Zhenru Town, which dates back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279), is to become a “public activity center” for the Yangtze River Delta region.

The town in Putuo District, originally formed around the Zhenru Temple, will become the “northwest sitting-room” of the city and serve the national strategy for integrated development of the region, Zhang Yuxin, deputy director of Putuo, told the first session of Zhenru Forum on Monday.

It will become one of the four subcenters in the city’s downtown, along with Xujiahui in Xuhui District, Wujiaochang in Yangpu District and Huamu in the Pudong New Area.

They will become the new driving force for the city’s development along with the five new towns in Jiading, Qingpu, Songjiang, Fengxian and Nanhui districts.

The Zhenru subcenter will cover 6.2 square kilometers, based around the Shanghai West Railway Station and expressways connecting with the Yangtze River Delta. The transport hub at the station handles over 40,000 passengers a day as Shanghai’s northwest gateway.

The forum is inviting urban planners and experts to advise on the future development of the town. Leading experts at the first forum include Lu Ming, a Shanghai Jiao Tong University professor and executive director of the Shanghai Institute for National Economy.

As one of the four subcenters of the city, Zhenru will further highlight its advantages in convenient transport and abundant cultural resources. It will become a quality subcenter featuring technology, transport, culture and large greenery coverage, Zhang said.

More convenient public services will be available in the town to implement the people-oriented urban development principle raised by President Xi Jinping during his visit to Shanghai in 2019, he said.

Zhenru originally formed between 1208 and 1224 when a monk built Zhenru Temple and a Xianghua (scented flower) bridge, which brought worshippers to the area. Markets later developed around the temple, which still exists, along with Zhenru Pagoda.

The town, formerly known as Taoxi, or peach creek, sat between the former Jiading and Shanghai counties. It was known one of the city’s four most prosperous historic marketplaces.

A large number of headquarters of companies from the Yangtze River Delta region, especially fintech companies, have gathered in Zhenru, Du Chunwen, executive deputy director of the subcenter’s management committee, told the forum.

It aims to become the subcenter of an outstanding global city, an innovative dynamic zone as well as a better life zone, according to Du.

Construction has started on the Zhenrujing project, a key commercial complex in the core region of the subcenter.

The project is being built above the Zhenru station of Metro Line 11 and 14. The complex includes business facilities covering 300,000 square meters, shopping malls and a theater covering 150,000 square meters as well as residential communities, greenbelt and underground space.

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