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March 6, 2010

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Little Holland in Pudong

AN entire town from the Netherlands is being recreated near 800-year-old Gaoqiao Town, "revitalizing" the old area and attracting tourists to a New City, according to urban planners.

Holland Village, covering under 2 square kilometers, will become a new residential area. It's part of Shanghai's ambitious citywide project to build small foreign towns with lots of ambience in the districts. They include German (Jiading District), English, Spanish, Italian and other towns.

For the Pudong New Area, the whole Kattenbroek Town will be replicated and re-imagined as needed. The project is designed by Kuiper Compagnons and Teun Koolhaas Associates, two Dutch architecture firms.

The Holland Town is expected to cover 500,000 square meters of apartments, townhouses and villas. Many will have typical Dutch red walls and gray tiles.

A 100,000-square-meter commercial area is planned. The entire town is expected to accommodate almost 20,000 people when it is completed.

The whole project is divided to nine construction phases; the first two have been completed and the third is underway.

The Holland Town area has geographical advantages. Metro Line 6 runs nearby and connects it with the Waigaoqiao zone, Jinqiao area, the Lujiazui Financial and Trade Center as well as the Sanlin area.

Northern gate

Yanggao Road N. and Zhangyang Road, two main streets in Pudong, also facilitate the traffic flow. More than 20 bus lines traverse the town.

The New City is 40km from both Pudong International Airport and the Hongqiao Airport. It is also the city's northern gate to Jiangsu Province.

More than one-third of the development area will be covered with waterways, green belts and natural, ecologically maintained scenery.

The area features educational resources, such as Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone Primary School, Tonggang Primary School, Gaoqiao Town Primary School and Gaoqiao Middle School affiliated to Shanghai Normal University.

Other facilities such as the No. 7 People's Hospital, supermarkets, spas, beauty salons, hotels and restaurants are located on renovated and fashionable Xiabi Road, the main pedestrian street.

"This place used to be a shabby area with dilapidated straw huts, crossed by a smelly river," says Xu Yidao, who has operated a jade store in the town for almost 30 years. Today his little jade store has been relocated to the fancier neighborhood.

"It's a whale of a difference now, and I believe with the further development, more business opportunities will come," Xu adds.

In future, low-rent apartments for young white collars from other provinces are scheduled to be built to ease the housing shortage.


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