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Where the city finds peace and breathes

PARKS seemed to be a never-ending source of fun when we were young. Childhood memories revolved around these carnival paradises with seesaws and merry-go-rounds. It was a delightful ritual to be dressed in best clothes just to go out and play.

Four years ago in a best-selling book, several young writers talked about their fondness and enthusiasm for Shanghai's Fuxing Park, that popular downtown area of greenery, statues, restaurants and a funfair.

Echoes of joy and sorrow in their lives as well as daily trivia centered on the park which aroused deep affection for the century-old landmark tucked into tranquil back lanes of Luwan District.

Greenbelts and miniparks have sprouted throughout the city's downtown areas in recent years. They have become a lot more popular, not just with the very young or the elderly doing morning exercises.

According to the Shanghai Greenery Administrative Bureau, Shanghai's greenery coverage rate was 12.5 square meters per capita by the end of 2008, with 36.17 percent of the space taken by public green areas.

The parks, often described as Shanghai's "green lungs," help buffer office workers from stress.

Nine-to-five workers grab a moment of refreshment at noon breaks, have lunch or take a nap.

Residents enjoy the parks for their cool breezes on sultry summer nights, practice ballroom dancing and karaoke. Young people play basketball and drummers beat with passion.Jing'an Sculpture Park This 30,000-square-meter park opened its first-phase section last year at the junction of Beijing Road W. and Chengdu Road N.

Adjacent to many residential complexes and office buildings, the park offers a leisurely moment amid the city hustle. It features sculptures from 61 cities. A series of sculpture exhibitions will be exhibited before the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai.

The park is home to more than 300 trees including good examples of gingko, camphor, beech and hackberry.

Another 124 cherry trees of various species and 8,500 evergreen day lilies can also be found. The trees divide the park into 12 flower gardens, with about six to seven different colors planted and featured every season.

According to the Shanghai Greenery Administrative Bureau, the greenery in the park can absorb the heat expelled by 1,500 air-conditioners. The park will be completely finished by 2010.

Opening hours: 5am-9pm

Tel: 5228-9562

Address: 128 Shimen No. 2 Rd, near Beijing Rd W.

About a 10-minute walk from Metro Line 1 Xinzha Road Station or Metro Line 2 Nanjing Road W. StationXiangyang Park

A long tree-lined boulevard leads visitors to the deep end of the 22,000-square-meter park which is surrounded by the neon-lit Huaihai Road M.

Sitting on the benches under the shadows of thick leaves produces a relaxing feeling almost immediately.

An elegant hexagonal pavilion studded with glazed tiles stands at the entrance of a lush green lawn inside. More than a hundred of flowers, including cherries, camellias, cuckoos, Chinese flowering apples and roses, are planted in the park. Nights often see high-spirited scenes with dancing parties.

Tel: 5404-2208

Address: 1008 Huaihai Rd M.

About a 5-minute walk from Metro Line 1 Shaanxi Road S. StationXujiahui Park

Circled by the Xujiahui commercial area, this park boasts a handsome amount of greenery covering a total area of 72,700 square meters.

The layout of the park is a miniature of the city's design. A lake running through the park echoes the flow of the Huangpu River, the city's main waterway.

An imposing chimney from the Ta Chung Hua Rubber Factory on the former site has been preserved as a vestige of the industrial era with a modern creation of optical fibers on top creating magical smoky effects at night.

La Villa Rouge (nicknamed as "Xiao Hong Lou" based on its color), the former EMI recording studio, is another highlight in a corner of the park adding to local memories.

Tel: 5448-3887

Address: 889 Zhaojiabang Rd (between Tianping Rd and Wanping Rd)

About 50 meters from Exit 14 of Metro Line 1 Xujiahui Station

Yanzhong Park

Tel: 5306-4233

Address: Between Yan'an Rd E. and Yan'an Rd M., Xizang Rd S. and Maoming Rd S.

Huashan Greenbelt

Address: Huashan Rd (between Pingwu and Xingfu Rd)

Daning Lingshi Park

Tel: 6652-3698

Address: 288 Guangzhong Rd W.

Guangqi Park

Tel: 64381780

Address: 17 Nandan Rd

Lujiazui Central Greenland

Tel: 5887-9964

Address: 15 Lujiazui Rd E., Pudong Other green lands in the city


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