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June 11, 2011

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Nostalgia marks passing of Luwan

MANY residents of what was Luwan have been engaging in a spot of nostalgia following the announcement on Wednesday that their district no longer existed.

The state government said it had approved a plan to merge Luwan into Huangpu District. Officials said this would enhance the development of the Bund financial zone.

It will also help complement the Lujiazui financial zone on the other bank of the Huangpu River, officials said.

But many Luwan residents, taken by surprise at the news, started their own tributes to the disappearance of their home district, which was steeped in Shanghai history, blending local and Western cultures.

In blogs, many residents born and bred in Luwan said they would miss the district for its elegance and mixture of history and modern fashion.

A number even waxed lyrical about the former district.

"Luwan is the elegance of Xintiandi, the tranquility of Sinan Road, the luxuriant trees lining Ruijin Road, the flashing neons illuminating Huaihai Road, the solemnity of Marx-Engels statue in Fuxing Park, the nostalgia of shikumen houses in Tianzifang. Luwan I love you and I will miss you," a netizen wrote in English in a microblog on

Some residents invited friends to pay a nostalgic visit this weekend for "a possible last glance" at the traditional and landmark sites and share "common memories" of childhood.

Many fear commercial development in the core area of the former district will soon begin, as the government aims to build a "new Huangpu District."

"If you read deeper into the government statement, you get the impression that new rounds of commercial development will start soon. It seems that more people will be relocated to make room for a more high-end Huangpu District," said one young local resident, who asked not to be identified.

Some Luwan residents expressed deep sorrow about losing the district.

"In my understanding, Luwan is symbol of Shanghai. Its peaceful environment and elegance provided me with the best environment in which I grew up," said Li Yixin, a middle-aged local public relations company manager.

But other older residents were less emotional.

"To most of us, it seemed an acceptable change," said 62-year-old Zhou Jianguang, who has lived in the area all his life. "Huangpu is not a bad choice as the two downtown neighboring districts have some common cultural and historic roots," he added.

The 8-square-kilometer downtown district was famous for its traditional shikumen (stone gate) houses, and also nourished the city's fashion and high-end leisure industries in recent years.


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