Shanghai: Opening of The New Bund

Written by Julen Madariaga on March 29th, 2010

Today was the opening day of the new Bund. After a decade with the elevated road flowing into this street, the urban planners have finally realized that a 5 lane highway is not the best thing to have in the middle of your famous promenade. This year they have been busy getting that ring road buried underground, in my opinion the most needed urban transformation in Shanghai. Here are the results in pictures:

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Three workers take a short break to enjoy their new creation, as hundreds of pedestrians invade the former automobile exclusive zone.

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Berlin 1989. The Wall of Cars is down and the Bund is invaded by pedestrians, happily crossing on (or nearby) the zebra passes.

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Nanjing Lu should come next: When two lanes are invaded every weekend, it is time to widen the sidewalks and get rid of some smoke.

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Here you are, Increased area + Increased visitors = Equal density.

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We chat our way up to one of the Bund’s big banks. Here you see the two levels of the Bund, with an elevation of some 3 meters on the part next to the River. Here is my main problem with the new design, plus the fact that there are still too many car lanes.

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And since we are here again, for the Nth time: he is NOT Mao, he is Chen Yi, the ex Mayor of Shanghai. You should visit his beautiful old house in the French concession, now a museum of Chinese art.

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There is a brand new building on the Bund, the only one with modern architecture in the whole street. It fits very well, and it brings a certain air of European city, now that they cleaned all the facades. But I can’t help wondering, what happened to the old building that was there before?

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And here is my main objection to the design. I understand the double level of the Bund is necessary, as the part next to the river must have a certain height to avoid flooding. But what I absolutely can’t understand is this horrible grey wall separating the two halves!

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Not to mention the absurdly long ramps to go up and down, where it takes some 50 meters and 15 minutes to pass. It would have been much more functional and beautiful to do a sprawling stairway, where groups of people can sit down and even play instruments like on the stairs of Montmartre…

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The Southern part of the Bund has been saved from the oppression of the elevated highway, which used to loom above the lighthouse, rendering this whole area useless. Now there are benches and a fountain. I am sure the Lighthouse bar will get more business.

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And finally, here is a cross section taken from number 22. You can see the 2+1 lanes of cars each way, and the 2 heights of the promenade, with the background of Pudong and the moon.

Better Life, Better City? Yes, but still a lot more to do. We will continue waiting to see if they get it better for Bund 3.0. What do you think?

For more pictures of Shanghai new buildings see here. Also Shanghaiist has this covered here, and Danwei here.

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Comments so far ↓

  1. Mar
    29
    4:38
    PM
    george

    I guess the long ramps were there for people who has to use wheelchairs.

    [Reply to this comment]

  2. Mar
    29
    5:14
    PM
    Julen Madariaga

    Oh well you are right. But the problem is not with the ramp itself, the problem is that there is no other way to pass! They could have done this ramp as it is, and in addition also do the wide stairs with benches.

    I am especially fond of that kind of setup with big stairways because it invites groups to sit down, or spectators to watch some street performance, etc.

    There is more than enough space in the Bund to do both ramos and stairs.

    [Reply to this comment]

  3. Mar
    29
    11:56
    PM
    george

    ahh, indeed, that would be really nice. I guess they still need to learn how to offer people more options.

    [Reply to this comment]

  4. Mar
    30
    9:15
    PM
    DeluxZilla

    How the deuce did you get up on the roof of one of the banks? Very nice shot. The Nanjing Road is definitely going to have to be changed in some way. I was surprised walking down it how many people were coming from Pedestrian Street and the subway line to the Bund, and using the traffic lanes because the sidewalks were too narrow. I’m also having my doubts about whether the redesign of the Bund will lessen traffic in any way — even with a wider pedestrian street and fewer lanes on Zhongshan Road.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Julen Madariaga Reply:

    @DeluxZilla: Actually I cheated, I was with a friend who works there. It still took a little bit of chatting up though, the security guard was not so convinced that I was “a VIP client”. LOL.

    [Reply to this comment]

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