Since the early 1990s, Lujiazui, a peninsula on the eastern bank of Huangpu River, has been developing as a new financial district in Shanghai. Although Lujiazui’s rapid development led to the construction of its world-renowned skyline that towers over the waterfront, it hasn’t always made allowances for quality public spaces. The development of a new parcel of 2.5-kilometer of riverfront green space will bring a significant and central public space to the most prominent location of Shanghai. With a design scheme dubbed Reunion of the City and the River, this work will reconnect the isolated riverfront with the city, returning the riverfront to the public as well as injecting more energy to the inland parcels.
While the area is home to several parks, uncoordinated development by different stakeholders over the years have resulted in a lack of connection and consistency. These issues are compounded by levee and flood wall systems that block both visual and physical access to the riverfront. A holistic design strategy for this stretch of riverfront will address the environmental challenges, bring residents and visitors back to the riverfront as well as rejuvenating the development nearby, while respecting and celebrating its industrial past, in order to elevate the overall quality and user experience of the Lujiazui waterfront area.
Sasaki’s design introduces a continuous recreational system composed of three paths—Waterfront Path, Panorama Path, and City Path—along the river, allowing people to enjoy a full spectrum of experiences at different levels of the waterfront. The unique location of Lujiazui also provides an unparalleled opportunity for park users to appreciate the most splendid past, present, and future of this international metropolis. Eleven gateways and viewing corridors extending the urban streets visually and physically weave the river into the city fabric, bringing more opportunities to access the riverfront as well as offering new energies to this urban district.
Diverse programs and spaces designed for all ages are linked and allocated on both sides of the public space’s path system, providing recreational and educational opportunities and encouraging pedestrian and bicycle circulation through this bustling financial district.
The plan celebrates the river’s history as a vital industrial corridor by preserving and restoring selected remnants and artifacts near the waterfront. Steel frames outline the profile of the dry dock—recalling its service as a shipyard—while the Pudong Waterworks is reimagined as a heritage museum of industrial history.
The plan’s ecological design strategy integrates existing site conditions, future uses, and historic context. Linear rain gardens, a lily pond, and a constructed wetland contribute to a comprehensive stormwater management system that will improve water quality and create bird habitats along the shoreline. Existing hard edges along the river will be mitigated via terraces and restored wetlands, which will increase habitat value and draw people to the riverfront. Use of native plant species will promote the use of sustainable and local landscape for the Yangtze River Delta, and a diversity of landscape types will enhance biodiversity and complement the overall design.
The Lujiazui Riverfront is a critical link in the Huangpu River East Bund. Sasaki’s design scheme incorporates elements of recreation, education, and eco-restoration into this concentrated microcosm of Shanghai, creating a window through which visitors can view a distilled image of the city’s rich and unique culture.