New system for heritage protection to be set up 426
Shanghai will seek to regularly expand its list of historical buildings in a bid to effectively protect its cultural heritage, said a local conservation expert.
During his speech at the Shanghai 2040 Lecture Series hosted and organized by the municipal urban planning administration, Zheng Shiling, a professor at Tongji University, said that the city had updated its list of outstanding historical buildings just once in the past 10 years.
“To improve the situation, Shanghai will establish a system where a catalogue of antique architectures is regularly expanded and eligible targets for protection added,” he said.
While visitors are often impressed with the city’s highrise buildings, Shanghai actually has a lot more to offer in terms of historical architecture, said Zheng, who is also a member of the China Academy of Science. He shared that Shanghai has about 3,000 Western-style villas and many streets and communities that feature distinctive architecture from the past.
“However, it will take additional refurbishment and renovation to bring new vitality to these old buildings and communities,” said Zheng. in Shanghai are on the protection list
He also stressed on the need to maintain the integrity of the original building during the renovation process, referring to how popular tourist spot Tianzifang on Taikang Road has lost its character.
“There was insufficient attention paid to the cultural elements and the area has now become nothing more than a cluster of eateries and shops, devoid of creativity,” he said.
Shanghai has the strictest system in China when it comes to protecting its cultural heritage. The measures taken by the city to protect culture and heritage span from individual structures to street scenes to riverside landscapes and even networks that cover particular regions and communities.
According to the city’s urban planning, land and resources administration, Shanghai released its first list of 61 outstanding historical buildings in 1989. The latest update took place in 2015 and there are currently 426 buildings, including offices, residences and vintage factory buildings, on the list.
Zheng also suggested that Shanghai should optimize its skyline by strengthening regulations for high-rise buildings. He said that the skyline still lacks a depth despite 30 years of intensive development.
“Some people have compared Shanghai’s urban growth to mushrooms, while others say it is akin to bamboo sprouts,” he said, pointing out the lack of planning of the city’s building development.
Zheng added that the authorities need to establish different measurements for space administration in the different areas within the city in order to reflect the unique character of Shanghai.
With regard to new and ongoing developments, Zheng said that a 21-kilometer pedestrian street is being built on the east bank of the Huangpu River while the public square in front of the Xujiahui Catholic Church is being refurbished. In addition, several parks in Shanghai’s suburbs are being constructed.
“By 2040, the city will have more public spaces, such as pedestrian streets, public lavatories, café and outdoor leisure facilities,” said Zheng.
“However, in comparison with other metropolis such as London, New York and Tokyo, Shanghai has less cultural facilities such as universities, museums, theaters and galleries, and we need to improve in this aspect.”
Experts say that Shanghai's skyline still lacks depth despite decades of development.