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December 7, 2018

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River’s industry history and cultural change

INDUSTRIAL relics along the Huangpu River waterfront have witnessed rapid urban development, especially during the last 40 years of reform and opening-up.

The former riverside industrial bases are now being developed into the top waterfront paths and green spaces to equal that of the Left Bank in Paris and the Thames walkway in London. Most of the industrial heritage, which dates back over 100 years, has been preserved and turned into museums, art galleries and parks.

The core concept is to give the “mother river” back to its residents, according to the Shanghai Urban Planning and Natural Resources Administration, the city’s urban planning body.

As one of the most popular attractions, the Long Museum in Xuhui’s riverside region, known as the West Bund, was converted from the coal hoppers of the historical Beipiao Wharf.

Modern and historical exhibits are being showcased within the structure that has become an icon of the city’s industrial achievements.

The West Bund Art Center, which hosted the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in September, was renovated from a historical aircraft manufacturing plant built in 1950.

An art park, Tank Shanghai, is set to emerge from five monumental aircraft fuel tanks that have been renovated and will open to public in March as a cultural venue featuring a gallery, a library, cafes, education centers and a theater.

The crenelated Yangshupu Water Plant has been supplying the city with water since 1881 and continues to do so, but the tap water source has been shifted from the former Huangpu River to the cleaner Qingcaosha Reservoir at the Mouth of Yangtze River.

Across the river in the Pudong New Area is the MIFA 1862 arts center. It was renovated from a shipyard built in 1862 and the Minsheng silo built in 1908.

The history of the city’s shipping industry is highlighted at the riverside region of Hongkou, known as the North Bund.

It took only 10 years to turn the 140-year-old Gaoyang Road Dock, the nation’s first port for foreign cargo, into a cruise liner hub.

Docks and crane yards along the river have become wharfs for international liners. Hundreds of porters have been replaced by over a million foreign visitors from all around world every year.

A “Gallery of History” has also been developed at the former Puxi site of World Expo 2010 in Huangpu District, which was also home to the city’s century-old Jiangnan Shipyard.

China’s first-generation aerospace survey ship Yuanwang-1, which was retired in 2010 after accomplishing around 60 aerospace missions, is being exhibited along the river.

The city government now plans to extend riverside paths both upstream and downstream, and to improve the services and scenery on the opening section.

A long-term 2035 blueprint earmarks the 61-kilometer-long Huangpu waterfront to be a “demonstration zone” for the further development of the city’s cultural capability.


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