shanghai, china: shanghai urban planning exhibition
I walked around the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition awe-struck. I actually spoke out loud many times in disbelief: “Oh my gosh?!” Every time I turned the corner there was something else spectacular to see. The motto of the museum was “Better City, Better Life.” I am such a believer in cities and the amazing diversity, opportunity and solutions they can provide. The essence of the museum is a positive look into the future and how to get there.
The first floor was a look into historical Shanghai and photos of some of the same places from decades ago to present day- grounding me in a great initial understanding of the city. The design and architecture here is uniquely incredible and brilliantly mixes the new and the old.
The second floor was a temporary exhibit: Tang Yaozhong’s “Memories in Childhood.” This 2 meter wide, 200-meter long oil painting panel took him 20 years to paint and depicted towns in Southern China. This was one of the most astounding pieces I have ever seen as its depiction conveys such detail and emotion. You feel you are in the moments in those towns along the canals through the artwork.
The next few floors were entirely about Shanghai’s current position as an environmentally friendly city and how to take it to the highest level possible in the future. The presentation of information was done brilliantly as it detailed the current position and the plan for the future, as well as, was designed in a fun and engaging way.
I was so taken a back by the mock-up of the city of Shanghai. This was one of the coolest most beautiful things I have ever seen and makes you feel on top of the world! My love for cities just grew and grew and grew! Around the mock-up, were the themes and goals for building a better city: “economic development, social development, developing the city by science and education and serving the nation.” Each contained pledges of initiatives the city is committed to, such as, improved support, infrastructure, collaboration, etc.
One of my favorite parts of the museum was data collection. There were tablets throughout that asked people to contribute to the future vision of Shanghai via their feedback. For instance, locals or tourists would be asked about their satisfaction for the transportation system and what could be done to improve it. So cool to have this perspective and put insights into action!
It is very difficult to put into words the unbelievable nature of this museum. I spend hours reading all of the information and left feeling so inspired and hopeful for our future. Some of my other favorites were:
- Timeline of Shanghai’s urban planning that stretched to 2040! I love the mindset of thinking about generations to come.
- The focus and prioritization of public participation.
- The facts of urban planning done in a palatable way.
- Uncovering of causes and challenges in crafting an environmentally friendly city- ie the population growth, housing crisis and opportunity to develop green houses.
- Sharing best practices with other countries.
- A deep look at livable cities and Shanghai can leverage technologies to improve lives. The exhibit even went into topics, such as, entertainment, comfortable living, relaxing employment, etc. to go beyond simply basic needs and into a whole and full life.
- The wide spectrum of topics covered from waste to water to transportation to housing and more.
If you are in Shanghai, I absolutely recommend visiting this museum!! I am so inspired by the city’s prioritization of doing their part to improve the health and well being of the community and the planet.