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Cultural facelift for protected street

April 11, 2019

Wuyi Road in Changning District is to become an "international culture and innovation street," featuring fashion boutiques, traditional restaurants and recreational facilities.
The 1.7-kilometer-long road, originally Tunsin Road, was built in 1925. It is one of 64 roads in the city under protected status and lies within Changning's historical conservation zone.
The road features both East and West architectural styles with garden villas, new lane-style communities and modern high-rises.
According to a blueprint released by the district government, an outdated wet market, factories and old neighborhoods will be redeveloped into innovation parks and boutique street stores.
"The future Wuyi Road is expected to become an 'exposition street' for the city's haipai culture," said Yuan Xiangqing, director of the district's Hongqiao area development office. Its historical ambiance will be restored while public facilities will be improved to make the communities along the road dynamic and warm, he said.
The future Wuyi Road will be "tranquil and elegant," Yuan said.
To achieve the goal, the Meijiale wet market at 304 Wuyi Road, an old-school market subject to complaints about environmental issue, has already been shut down. Over the next 18 months it will become a modern, convenient and recreational market with a 300-square-meter garden at the entrance.
A nearby former health service center of the Jiangsu Road Subdistrict has been relocated to Yuyuan Road to allow commercial and social facilities to be built for local residents.
The former site of Shanghai Feilo Acoustics Co, the first listed firm on the Chinese mainland, will become an art and culture center. New and preserved buildings will occupy the 16,000-square-meter area.
The center will feature a community activity space, art and cultural exhibition sites, workshops for creative designers and stores displaying and selling artworks.
Cultural performances, exhibitions, art bazaars and handicraft workshops will be held regularly, along with traditional Huju Opera, monodrama and comedies.
Feilo was largely unknown outside China until 1986, when a 50-yuan (US$7.4) stock certificate of the company was presented by former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping to John Phelan, chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, during his visit to Beijing. Phelan then came to the Shanghai exchange to transfer ownership of the certificate.
The area around the district's civil affairs bureau will become an innovation park for the cultural and creative industry. Residents of several old neighborhoods at 209 and 339 Wuyi Road will be relocated.
Existing businesses on Wuyi Road will be evaluated in order to retain some popular and characteristic stores while bringing in new cultural brands, according to the district government.
A popular scallion pancake store will remain. Its owner, surnamed Mu, has been making and selling the traditional snack for over two decades.
In the future, residents and visitors will be able to taste traditional snacks such as these pancakes and youtiao (fried dough sticks), as well as visit cafes or jewelry stores on the road flanked by tall plane trees, the district government said.
The facelift is part of Changning's plan to revamp four downtown roads to improve the environment and highlight their cultural heritage.
Xinhua, Yuyuan, Wuyi and Panyu roads, with their historic villas and former residences of famous personalities, are all being refurbished.
Architects and designers from home and abroad have been invited, as part of an urban design festival, to share their ideas of how to renovate the streets, neighborhoods, stairways and garbage stations on Xinhua Road. The 1.5 kilometers of roads between Huaihai and Yan’an roads feature a dozen heritage villas and former homes of dignitaries, such as American missionary Gilbert Reid.
Yuyuan Road has new boutique stores and art galleries along with a public market where residents can buy traditional breakfast foods, and there is a standard array of shoe repairers and stalls to get keys cut or broken umbrellas fixed.
The former site of the state-owned Shanghai Institute of Biological Products at 1262 Yan’an Road W. near Panyu Road has been converted into a complex with offices, hotels and shopping area. Leading enterprises in culture, technology and fashion will be based there.
The former Columbia Country Club, the Navy Club and a villa built for Sun Yat-sen’s son, Sun Ke, along with 11 industrial buildings belonging to the institute have been preserved.