The Bund 外灘

City: Shanghai, CN | Project Type: waterfront
Date Visited: 2.19.13
Location: The Bund, Shanghai
Size: 4.8 kilometers from Suzhou Creek to the 2010 Expo site in Puxi (2.6 square kilometers)
Projected Completion Date: 2020

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One of the most historically significant and sought-after tourist destinations in Shanghai, The Bund marks a great crossroads between the east and west, combining architecture, trade, ecology, history, and place-making.

Originally a barren shoal, this long strip of waterfront property starts at the convergence of the Wusong River and Huangpu River in northern Shanghai. Since the opening of Shanghai’s port in 1843, the Bund has experienced numerous historical developments, the most recent being the first phase of the Bund’s Comprehensive Reconstruction project. The US$70 million project lasted 33 months from August 18th 2007 to March 28th 2010.

The European Neo-classical buildings built along the Bund were constructed in the 1920s and 1930s when European firms first began to settle in the area. The influx of foreign trade and commerce anchored the Bund as the major trade center in the Far East.

The Bund has changed significantly throughout the century, from its decline during the rise of the Communist regime to its revitalization in the 70s and 80s following the thawing of economic policy. Its most recent reconstruction impressively transformed the Bund from a vehicle-oriented space to a people-oriented promenade.

Before the project, the Bund had formerly consisted of 11 vehicle lanes, cutting pedestrian access off from some of the Bund’s most beautiful and historic buildings with few park spaces. Through feats of engineering and a top-down government system, the 11 traffic lanes were condensed into a two-floor underground vehicle tunnel (three lanes going and coming respectively) with four vehicle lanes above the ground. Reconfiguring traffic flow increased the size of the waterfront promenade by 40%; the renovated promenade offers stunning views to Lujiazui’s futuristic skyline. Landscaping and greening were also increased by 23,300 square meters.

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