Fast gaining popularity in Asia, urban regeneration is transforming urban landscapes and raising the values of property across the region.
Words by Mira Soyza
Photography by Jan Yong & Urban Land Institute
The sound of mirthful laughter and pitter-patter of children’s footsteps running along the 4 km-long boulevard, fill the west bank of Shanghai’s Huangpu River. From the break of dawn till the sneak of dusk, tourists and local dwellers flood the waterfront, rolling out mats to set the picnic baskets on as they marvel at the brilliant landscaping and reconnect on the grand steps and pavilions of the Bund.
The historical building was once the financial centre of Asia, a symbol of Shanghai’s economic strength—but then the decision in 1990s to build a 10-lane highway had isolated the waterfront promenade from the city and essentially turned it into a ghost town. To solve this, six of the lanes were diverted through an underground tunnel, while the vacated space were used to widen the promenade to create a vital infrastructure that doubled up as a pedestrian-friendly recreational space. As a result, the waterfront was reintegrated with the rest of Shanghai and can once again revel in its long lost glorious years.
Much like Shanghai, many major cities in the world have successfully tackled their urbanization problems by way of regeneration. By definition, it essentially means revitalising an existing urban area in order to bring about a lasting improvement in its physical, functional, economic, social, and environmental conditions. It helps a city live up to its full potential and improves living conditions for its residents.