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Blueprint for waterside charm

THE banks of Shanghai's Suzhou Creek and Huangpu River will become better places to exercise, learn about local history or just relax and enjoy the view over the next few years, thanks to a series of water-related improvement plans unveiled yesterday.

In Changning District, for instance, residents will be able to jog along the newly paved banks of the Suzhou Creek by the end of this year as the creek takes on a new look featuring greenery and other enhancements.

District officials revealed the reconstruction plan at a news conference yesterday, saying the goal was to create a more pleasant water experience over a 5.2-kilometer stretch from Hami to Jiangsu roads. Six parks with different themes and functions will be built or renovated to form a complete green corridor along the district's portion of the creek.

Covering 28,000 square meters, Hongqiao Hebin Park will have plenty of shade, flowers and lawns in addition to fitness facilities and benches for those who just want to contemplate the scenery. There will also be a two-story observation deck to enable visitors to enjoy the river views.

In the creek's upstream Putuo District section, two sightseeing vessels capable of carrying 40 to 50 people are expected to begin operating on a trial basis for the National Day holiday in October.

In addition to sailing along the creek, tourists will be able to go ashore to visit museums, including those featuring collections of matchboxes, coins, silk and the irrigation works of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).

In Xuhui District, water-friendly scenic spots along the Huangpu River will be developed to add more greenery and entertainment options, according to a plan released yesterday.

Visitors will be able to enjoy walking and tram tours along an 8.4-kilometer stretch of the river.

The 100-hectare project, due for completion in 2012, includes a waterfront platform and 10 greenery-lined streets, each with a public square. It will retain the flavor of "old Shanghai" by featuring trees familiar to local residents.


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