The design proposal known as ‘North Bund – City for People’ was presented by Stewart Hollenstein Directors Felicity Stewart and Matthias Hollenstein at the China Australian Urban Forum on 29th June 2016, Shanghai China.
The forum brought together experts from China and Australia to discuss potential futures for Shanghai with the purpose of addressing urgent issues such as liveability, sustainability, infrastructure and preservation.
Stewart Hollenstein were invited to the conference to present alongside Australian architects and urban design leaders including Lawrence Neild, Lindsay and Kerry Clare and Graham Jahn, Director of City Planning, Development and Transport, City of Sydney Council. Key guests included Hongkou District Municipal Governor Mr Cao, Minister-Counsellor Katherine Vickers from the Australian Embassy and esteemed Professors from Tongji University and the University of New South Wales Sydney.
The Stewart Hollenstein vision formed the basis of discussion at the conference. The design which includes the creation of a new People’s Avenue through the heart of the North Bund, reclaiming a key street for pedestrian priority use, provides a framework for the development of the district and was described as a catalyst for the transformation of the city at large. Hongkou District, together with Pudong and Huangpu form the three part CBD or ‘golden triangle’ of Shanghai.
“Shanghai has an incredible capacity for change, and has the ability to urgently transform itself into a healthy, connected city that makes space for its 25 million inhabitants. The vision for the ‘People’s Avenue’ is one that starts at the scale of the citizen and uses this viewpoint to transform the entire North Bund. The ‘People’s Avenue’ forms the backbone to a public domain network designed to be generous, vibrant and integrated with the existing heritage fabric and future cultural and commercial developments.”, said Stewart Hollenstein Director Matthias Hollenstein.
The project investigates a series of sites within the North Bund or lower Hongkou District zone across a 2.7km east west trajectory, revealing the potential for a new Cultural Spine. The creation of a new avenue, lined with continuous active edge, will be an invitation to locals and visitors to walk and explore new public spaces and cultural venues with comfort and ease and without the need of a car.
The People’s Avenue will not only be promote a cleaner, healthier city, but will be a prosperous place to do business. The vision flips the standard Shanghai development paradigm where public spaces are an afterthought, instead placing them at the heart of the vision, and then framed by development. This vision has the potential to impact Shanghai in the same way that the Bund Waterfront and Pudong Financial District have done in the past.
The plan identifies sites for the location of new Cultural venues including a Shanghai Food Market Hall, contemporary City Library and Library Square, Public Theatre with rooftop event space, Contemporary Art Gallery, Shanghai Multi-cultural Museum and a Children’s Museum and Play-space.
“With the development of many sites in the study area already underway, our proposal presents a new strategy where development and a well-defined public realm support one another. This is not a pattern we are currently seeing in Hongkou District where development has little relationship with the street and is designed on a block by block basis rather than supporting street life.”, said Stewart Hollenstein Director Felicity Stewart.