As documented in various places on this blog, I have been a fan, critic, and victim of the massive Shanghai-wide renovation undertaken in advance of the Expo 2010. On the fan side of things, I give a big thumb’s up to the new subway lines, and – from an urban beautification standpoint – the renovation of the Bund, Shanghai’s riverside boulevard of Big European Dreams/Buildings. A century ago, it faced docks, and traders could walk from their ships, to banks and customs houses, then back to their ships. But then, for reasons lost to me (if not history), somebody decided to run a ten-lane highway down the middle of the strech, cutting the buildings off from the riverfront promenade. What should have been a prime tourist destination became a drudgery. Let it be said: a major urban planning mistake.
And yet – with Expo in the air, somebody in Shanghai government got wise (and a subsidy), and last year crews began work on a new, improved Bund that includes an underground tunnel for the highway. Below, two photos taken roughly 20 meters and fourteen months apart. The one on the left, from September 2008; the one on the right from this afternoon. I sure like the reduced number of car lanes. Click to enlarge either image.
Addendum: A few days ago Xinhua did a detailed article on plans for the stretch – and I’ll admit to having concerns about the imminent brass charging bull statue.