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June 5, 2020

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Thousands of residents move on as the North Bund gets a makeover

Over 2,500 households will be relocated from a historic neighborhood on the North Bund to give way to the new round of redevelopment on the Huangpu River waterfront.

The relocation was launched yesterday at the Shanshouli neighborhood, a typical old lane-style neighborhood built around the 1920s, after almost 98 percent of its residents signed a contract to be relocated with a cash subsidy from the government.

Most of the houses in the neighborhood, covering a total of 110,000 square meters on Jiulong, Daming, Wuchang, Hanyang and Tanggu roads in Hongkou District, will be protected after residents move out to preserve one of the city’s most typical living environments, according to the planning authority of Hongkou.

There are four historic sites within the neighborhood which are under protective status.

They include the former site of the Tanggu Road Secret Radio Station of the Communist Party of China, a historical warehouse of the city’s early ironmongery and electromechanical company, the former site of the Hongkou Police Station and a church built in 1870.

On the map of the North Bund, Shanshouli resembles a butterfly sitting in the core area of the waterfront, which is planned to be a central activity zone and a “new engine” for Shanghai’s future development.

The neighborhood gained fame after a popular television series “I Will Find You a Better Home” shot scenes there.

“The neighborhood has retained much of the old Shanghai vibe, but the residents are actually eager to be relocated due to the poor living conditions,” said Zhang Qiurong, Party secretary of the Tanghan Neighborhood Committee of North Bund subdistrict.

Residents live in cramped quarters, using chamber pots and coal stoves. They have to share kitchens and bathrooms.

Li Jinfeng, a 66-year-old resident at 124 Tanggu Road, has been living in a 9.8-square-meter room with her son for over two decades. She cooks in a corridor and shares a bathroom with her neighbor.

“I will abandon most of the old furniture and belongings to prepare for the relocation,” said Li.

Despite the limited space, Li arranged her apartment in order — a refrigerator, two beds and a foldable table are placed in the “living section,” while an overhead cable is used to hang clothes.

She was often frightened by mice dropping from the ceiling after she got married and moved in, but became accustomed to them.

“It is a good opportunity for the new development of the North Bund as well as a new chance for me to start a new better life,” Li said.

To avoid infection during the novel coronavirus pandemic, the relocation office has created a non-contact method to communicate and explain policies to the residents, said Liu Feng, a general manager with the office.

“Staff in 46 groups communicated with residents through WeChat, phone and video calls.”

All households will receive a cash subsidy to buy other properties.

Most of the residents are elderly and the relocation office has tried to figure out the best compensation measures for each household, according to Liu.

A disabled couple over 70 finally agreed on a relocation deal after patient explanation by relocation staff. They had refused at first because they lived close to Shanghai General Hospital.

A total of 6,000 households will be relocated from the North Bund by the end of the year.

The North Bund will include a core central business district with a high density of office buildings and commercial facilities along with historical and cultural regions around the former Tilanqiao jail and the Hongkougang River.

“The North Bund will also become the new landmark to lead the city’s north-south development axis,” Wu said.


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