Shanghai started to initiate its modern urbanization process in the mid-19th century, later becoming a cosmopolitan city in the Far East by leveraging its advantageous position as a significant port. In the 20th century, especially since reform and opening up period, while intent on building a modern metropolis Shanghai also began to place great emphasis on historical and cultural preservation.
As the city's economic and social conditions improved, so did its awareness and efforts to preserve its historical and cultural areas. Shanghai itself became a national famous historical cultural city in 1986. Currently the city has 19 key heritage sites under state-level protection and 163 key heritage sites under municipal-level protection. The municipal government announced four groups of outstanding historic buildings to be put under preservation including 2,138 buildings located in 632 different places and with a total construction area of 4 million square meters.
There are 12 historical and cultural areas in downtown Shanghai as well as 32 areas located in the suburbs. A total of 144 roads and alleyways have been put under preservation. In 1996, four more famous historical cultural towns were designated in the suburbs including Fengjin, Zhujiajiao, Xinchang and Jiading Chengxiang.
In 1991, the Shanghai municipal government promulgated "measures for the administration of the preservation of outstanding modern buildings in Shanghai.” This was China's first ever regional administrative regulation regarding the preservation of modern buildings. Then in 2003 the Shanghai Municipal People's Congress passed "Shanghai historical and cultural areas and outstanding historical buildings protection ordinance", which at the time was hailed as one of the earliest regional laws on the preservation of urban historical features.
Finally in 2007, the Shanghai municipal government also approved and forwarded "opinions on administering the planning of Shanghai's roads (alleyways) under preservation", further substantiating the legal system for relevant preservation efforts.
In 2005, the Shanghai municipal government set up the "Shanghai historical and cultural areas and outstanding historical buildings protection committee”, a policy that led to the formation of an effective administrative mechanism. Relevant departments used the preservation of regional features as a basis and prescribed detailed requirements and an individual block planning guideline for the building density of each block and the height and scale of buildings flanking streets.
They also categorized the buildings and clearly outlined the planning requirements with respect to the preservation, conservation, rehabilitation and/or demolition of any building. Construction of new rail lines was also carried out with close attention paid to preserving historic buildings.
In addition, in order to learn the most advanced foreign techniques, city planning departments also actively seek to engage in international cooperation, constantly trying to strike a balance between urban development and the preservation of historical and cultural areas, and all the while continuously pioneering and testing the diversified preservation model.
Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Planning and Land Resources
Add: No.99 West Beijing road
Contact person: Hang Yan
Telephone number: 86-21- 63193188-13072