Location: Shanghai, China

Design Principal: Ping Jiang, AIA

Client: Shanghai Pudong Development (Group) Co., Ltd

Planning Area: 189 hectares

Type: Urban Design

Design Team:

Michelle Bao, Xiaohai Lin, Hongyi Zhuang, Junfeng Mao, Jinjing Yu, Yangxunxun Zhou, Chendi He, Cheyinzi Jiang, Di Fan


Potential and challenges of the Urban Renewal project

The urban renewal project in subject is located in Pudong New Area, which is a municipal district within the city of Shanghai in China. It lies at the intersection of two urban development projects i.e. Golden Central Development Zone and Yanggao Road Business Corridor, with Chuan Yang river in north and MiddleRingElevatedRoad in south. With a design area of 1.89 square kilometres, it is one of the large scale development sites in the area. Considering transportation services, the site has access to metro services through Line 6 along with proposed Line 26 in future. The growing demand for supporting infrastructure and facilities in the surrounding areas indicates the potential of the project site to become a new central business district in Shanghai with improved standard of living and opportunities.

The 'Infrastructuralism' aspect of the urban design project aims towards the conception of 'happy living' spatial system which has a secure and creative environment. This is proposed to rectify the shortcomings of the existing capital-oriented spaces and neighbourhoods and have a paradigm shift towards a sustainable urban design which is unique in China. The project site currently has limited public facilities, along with public spaces being fragmented in nature leading to less accessibility to services and falling behind the demands of the residents living in the surrounding areas of the urban space. One of the major challenges of the project is to find ways to connect and integrate the fragmented urban public spaces to create a new vibrant urban area which is pleasant and comfortable to live and has a mutual symbiotic relationship with nature. This is to be achieved through an upgrade in existing infrastructure that is attractive, just, synergetic and grows in continuum. 

Considering the overall aspects of the urban design project, the design team prioritized the development through three planning strategies as follows:

1. Upgrading the existing infrastructure
2. Connecting and integrating public spaces with landscapes
3. Creating pleasant small-scale street blocks

Based on the three prioritized strategies, the design team developed a more complete and detailed design through area specific research and analysis. 


Upgrading the existing infrastructure

The project as a whole delivers a planning structure of 'one core, one axis, three corridors and four districts', where the commercial and cultural facilities form the core while the community areas are located on the periphery, aiming to achieve a mixture of zones and a blend of business opportunities to maintain the 24-hour vitality of the city. 

The core area takes advantage of the existing and planned transportation services through metro lines to link and integrate the area to other parts of the city and create a mixed-use neighbourhood which caters to commercial, residential, cultural and ecological needs. This leads to inclusion of a series of cultural landmark buildings which are evenly scattered in the surrounding grid facing the central park. This assists in the formation of a diverse yet continuous network of public spaces. The leisure and entertainment facilities, art districts and creative industries add towards the diverse form and functionality of the space; which unifies the spatial distribution and takes innovative vitality of the urban area into consideration.

The cluster of offices along the Yanggao Business Corridor utilizes its linear spatial characteristic to link plots, connect surrounding urban spaces and form a block-style office area. Due to the surrounding green urban spaces and hierarchal arrangement of buildings based on the overall elevation, these buildings enjoy the best view of the city.  The high-rise commercial buildings portray the rhythmic skyline of the city along GaoqingRoad and YanggaoRoad in south.

Connecting and integrating public spaces with landscape

The urban development project is focused on creating an array of landscape spaces to build a vibrant ecological city with water and green elements. The landscape includes large inventory of green elements and rich spatial forms. Green Vein park occupies the core of the urban landscape and stitches (or connects) other open green landscape spaces through a green corridor, which provides a considerable area of green ecological space. The central park, city square, Green Vein Trail, Thousand Volt park, Riverside park and urban runways are established based on the geographical conditions; and these landscape hotspots in the urban area are spatially interconnected, achieving an optimistic mix of green and city landscape. 

The network of landscape spaces with Green Vein park as the central node penetrating into the surrounding urban spaces, connects the existing network of fragmented public spaces and makes them more accessible to the public. In addition to making the area aesthetically pleasing, the abundant green landscape also helps in making the urban ecology more resilient and self-sustainable. The interplay of landscape and city infrastructure assists in providing the community residents a healthier, diverse and equitable access to outdoor spaces, in turn promoting harmonious coexistence of humans and nature. 


Creating pleasant small-scale street blocks

The project dismisses large-scale street block design which conventionally supports automobile as a mode to move around the city due to large distances. It rather focuses on pedestrian-friendly planning through small blocks which caters to pedestrians and is more people-oriented in nature. Majority of the blocks adopt a modular scale ranging between 100 to 200 metres in length, which brings relief to the traffic congestion on arterial roads, and also assists in traffic calming by reducing the speed of automobiles to ensure pedestrian safety. The small-scale blocks enhance the walkability potential of the urban area and the surrounding spaces by providing more degree of freedom and choice for pedestrians via pathways, enhancing street livability (i.e. quality of life on small-scale) which in turn promotes social and commercial interactions, and brings social equity.  

The pedestrian infrastructure system has a multi-level characteristic including on-ground and underground facilities. The on-ground pedestrian system is accessible by two ways i.e. ground-level pedestrian streets and second-level landscape corridor. These two on-ground typologies are combined naturally to create an enjoyable walking experience. The ground-level pedestrian system is connected to the underground transportation system directly, which is prepared for the intelligent 5G connection services in future. 

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