Paying homage to history and memories

Urban renewal efforts in Shanghai have taken on a new focus in recent years, with authorities keener to preserve buildings than replace them with new, modern alternatives, Lin Shujuan reports.

Urban renewal projects have become commonplace in Shanghai over the past few years. But instead of seeing new glittering skyscrapers being introduced to the landscape, residents have been heartened to see that authorities are more eager to retain the integrity of the city’s past.

One such resident is 66-year-old Huo Bai, who has been living in Shanghai’s Qishan neighborhood in Changning district since he was born.

“I have lived here my whole life and gone through the changes of the times. I’m happy to see that the renovation efforts have restored the old homes. Those who used to live here were amazed at the scene when they returned. It was as if they had traveled back in time to their childhood,” he says.

Located on Yuyuan Road, a century-old street in Shanghai, the Qishan neighborhood covers an area of 22,000 square meters which is home to a cluster of old residential structures built between 1925 and 1930. The buildings in this cluster stand out from those around them as they have a unique architecture that features three-story conjoined houses with independent gardens.

As part of urban renewal efforts, houses in Qishan neighborhood were renovated last year. Roofs and building facades were repaired, load-bearing structures were reinforced, and improvements were made to the water and drainage systems.

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