New parks and greenbelts in the city’s northwest downtown will transform the former industrial heartland.
A total of 200,000 square meters of green areas, the equivalent of more than 20 standard football pitches, will be built in Putuo District this year, along with 40,000 square meters of vertical plantings and a 7-kilometer-long green pathway.
The plans also include riverside paths and expansions or improvements of existing green lands.
The Taopu Central Greenbelt will be expanded northwards, becoming the largest downtown public greenbelt in the city on completion in 2020.
An area has already opened as part of a trial operation. It features natural landscape and its long industrial heritage. The design of the green area was inspired by Hyde Park in London and Central Park in New York.
Visitors to the top of the greenbelt’s artificial hill can see the former site of the city’s once popular “peony ink” factory, a soap factory, a paint plant and the famous White Elephant battery factory.
According to the expansion blueprint, the greenbelt will feature a “sports zone, game park and adventure forest.”
Work will start late this year.
Two new greenbelts for the Changfeng business district will cover a total of 144,000 square meters.
Construction will be finished on the 5A park, half of the project, this year, while the construction on the remaining 6A section will start in October.
A riverside park covering 170,000 square meters will be built along the Mudugang River, a branch of the Suzhou Creek on Jinshajiang Road, by the end of the year. Another 1.6-kilometer-long riverside path near the Outer Ring Road in Taopu will be completed in December. The sightseeing path will feature pink flowers and yellow leaves along the Jinchang River.
An uninterrupted 4.2-kilometer-long waterfront path will be built along the Suzhou Creek this year. Nineteen areas will be cleared to develop the continuous paths on both sides of the creek. The project will mainly benefit the large number of residents living along the creek, according to the district government.
“I like jogging along the Suzhou Creek," said Swaantje Kaiser from Germany. "The environment is so great that it is hard to imagine there were once plants and factories here."
The city plans to turn the creek waterfront into a multifunctional, dynamic zone on par with the riverbanks of Paris and Chicago.
Apart from these major projects, Putuo also plans to build 20 small corner parks and 10 street gardens this year. Tall trees will be planted along 20 sections of main roads in the western downtown area.
Some 12,000 square meters of flowers will also be arranged across the district to celebrate the 70th anniversary for the founding of the People’s Republic of China this year.
Existing parks will also undergo improvements. Peach trees will be planted in Taopu Park, while lilac flowers will bloom across Hutai Park. The Zhenru Park will become the city’s first wintersweet theme park.