Shanghai (1927-1937) / The influence of the Greater Shanghai Plan on Wujiaochang’s later development

From the previous two posts discussing the changes happened in the Wujiaochang area, we could see that from 1927 to 1937, construction was actively carried out and this place was renewed in an unprecedented speed. But unfortunately in the following half-a-century’s time, Wujiaochang could hardly be connected to the word “center” again and was left in a marginalized condition. Except the basic urban fabric framed by the five boulevards, the zoning plan and the supporting facilities designed in the Greater Shanghai Plan was not continued after the war started in 1937. The trace of the Greater Shanghai Plan can be only recognized in the road network and some individual buildings from that time though some already had a totally functional change. The Government Building now locates in the Shanghai University of Sports and the City Museum is now part of a hospital. The city library was once renovated as student dormitory and now serves as the library of the Tongji Middle School. After two major maintenance projects in 1954 and 2006, The stadium might be the only project from the Greater Shanghai Plan that remains its original function and really serves the city nowadays[1].

Before going into more details, It’s very significant to make it clear that Wujiaochang area doesn’t equal to the civic center of the Greater Shanghai Plan but more a transportation junction a bit north to the real center, the administrative district. But where the main roads joining each other received more input and became the focus of the urban construction. The shift of developing focus is mainly because of the following urban development scheme, the Greater Shanghai Urban Planning (大上海都市计划) made by the Japanese invader[2].The port-and-railway-oriented idea was continued in the Japanese plan but the this plan was mainly out of military and colonial consideration[3]. From 1941 on with outbreak of the Pacific war, Japanese’s invader moved their focus to the old towns. Since then, the planned city center of the Greater Shanghai Plan was generally left in a neglected and marginalized condition for decades[4]. After the new China was established, six volumes of urban planning were made for Shanghai before the Cultural Revolution. As macro plannings, Wujiaochang didn’t receive much attention in those plans but was just roughly defined as residential and industrial area. Recalled by the local resident, in the 70s, there were only several bus stops, a couple of shops, a clinic and a bookstore in this area[5]. Wujiaochang has long been only a town under Baoshan County instead of the civic center in the Greater Shanghai Plan. In 1987, there’s finally a functional zone planning specifically for the Wujiaochang area, which marks the revival of this area’s urban development[6].

After the war, most of the construction in the civic center was destroyed but the basic urban fabric framed by the road network was kept. From: 上海特别市工务局,战后设施集影, Shanghai, 1947.
After the war, most of the construction in the civic center was destroyed but the basic urban fabric framed by the road network was kept. From: 上海特别市工务局,战后设施集影, Shanghai, 1947.
The urban development of Wujiaochang area was carried out in a scattered manner and lacked a overall planning before 1980s. From 五角场人民政府编, 五角场镇志, 科学技术文献出版社, 1988.
The urban development of Wujiaochang area was carried out in a scattered manner and lacked a overall planning before 1980s. From 五角场人民政府编, 五角场镇志, Shanghai: 科学技术文献出版社, 1988.

In the macro perspective, the urban fabric and zoning left by the previous actions was mostly disregarded[7]. And certain projects such as the construction of the 20000-household community for the workers from the surrounding industrial districts not only further destroyed the original urban fabric and spatial logic but also left urban issues for the future. These worker villages are trapped in a dilemma of demolition in present days[8]. In the micro perspective, Supply and Marketing Cooperatives (供销合作社) was the basic administrative unit taking charge of this town at that time. They were only capable to carry out small-scale development in a scattered manner such as constructing temporary structure to do retails along Xiangyin Road West[9]. The construction was relatively self-organized and lacked regulating and planning. Only until the construction of line 8 and 10 of Shanghai subway and the Middle Ring Road was the development of Wujiaochang valued and accelerated[10].

In 2004, the development level still couldn't catch up with those old towns but the subway project in progress couldn't shed a light on its later prosperity. From: 王辰, "五角场", 东方早报 2014 April 18th.
In 2004, the development level still couldn’t catch up with those old towns but the subway project in progress couldn’t shed a light on its later prosperity. From: 王辰, “五角场”, 东方早报 2014 April 18th.

Though the political intention and theoretical basis behind each plans is different, we can still draw similarities among them. Competition between different districts, the government-dominant developing mode, pursuing of large-scale planning and overwhelming propaganda exist in every scheme through the time[11]. Despite that the Greater Shanghai Plan failed and is hardly recognizable nowadays, the insights of it on the potential of Wujiaochang area as a regional transportation junction proved to be provident and influential. Wujiaochang was supposed to link up the port, railway station, the concession and other districts like Zhabei in the Greater Shanghai Plan. Today, it’s location and the accessibility to the transportation system is exactly the advantage of Wujiaochang area[12]. That’s why Wujiaochang area can be quickly developed into one of the four sub-centers of Shanghai after decades’ stagnation and self-construction.

 

 

Endnotes

[1] Chen Jiansheng 陈建生. “Shanghai Jiang Wan Ti Yu Chang Feng Feng Yu Yu 80 Zai 上海江湾体育场风风雨雨 80 载.” Science & Lifestyle 科学生活 9 (2014): 83-83.

[2] Shanghai Shi Du Shi Ji Hua Wei Yuan Hui 上海市都市计划委员会, Da Shanghai Du Shi Ji Hua Zong Tu Cao An Bao Gao Shu 大上海都市计划总图草案报告书,(Shanghai, 1946), 53.

[3] Wei Shu魏枢, <The Greater Shanghai Plan> Qi Shi Lu—Jin Dai Shanghai Hua Jie Du Shi Zhong Xin Kong Jian Xing Tai De Liu Bian《大上海计划》启示录——近代上海华界都市中心空间形态的流变, (Southeast University Press 东南大学出版社, 1995),305,

[4] Wei Shu魏枢, <The Greater Shanghai Plan> Qi Shi Lu—Jin Dai Shanghai Hua Jie Du Shi Zhong Xin Kong Jian Xing Tai De Liu Bian《大上海计划》启示录——近代上海华界都市中心空间形态的流变, 310

[5] Xin Ping 忻平, Cong Shanghai Fa Xian Li Shi: Xian Dai Hua Jin Cheng Zhong De Shanghai Ren Ji Qi She Hui Sheng Huo 从上海发现历史: 现代化进程中的上海人及其社会生活. (Shanghai, Shanghai Renmin Press 上海人民出版社, 1996).

[6] Shanghai Cheng Shi Gui Hua Zhi Bian Zuan Wei Yuan Hui 上海城市规划志编撰委员会, Shanghai Cheng Shi Gui Hua Zhi 上海城市规划志, (Shanghai: 上海社会科学院出版社, 1999), 97

[7] Wei Shu魏枢, <The Greater Shanghai Plan> Qi Shi Lu—Jin Dai Shanghai Hua Jie Du Shi Zhong Xin Kong Jian Xing Tai De Liu Bian《大上海计划》启示录——近代上海华界都市中心空间形态的流变, 283

[8] Wei Shu魏枢, <The Greater Shanghai Plan> Qi Shi Lu—Jin Dai Shanghai Hua Jie Du Shi Zhong Xin Kong Jian Xing Tai De Liu Bian《大上海计划》启示录——近代上海华界都市中心空间形态的流变, 301

[9] Li Jingyu 李璟昱, Jiang Wan Wu Jiao Chang- Jin Dai Zhong Guo Cheng Shi Hua De Dian Xing 江湾五角场 ——近代中国城市化的典型, Architectural Knowledge 建筑知识 03(2006): 9

[10] Wei Shu魏枢, <The Greater Shanghai Plan> Qi Shi Lu—Jin Dai Shanghai Hua Jie Du Shi Zhong Xin Kong Jian Xing Tai De Liu Bian《大上海计划》启示录——近代上海华界都市中心空间形态的流变, 134

[11] Wei Shu魏枢, <The Greater Shanghai Plan> Qi Shi Lu—Jin Dai Shanghai Hua Jie Du Shi Zhong Xin Kong Jian Xing Tai De Liu Bian《大上海计划》启示录——近代上海华界都市中心空间形态的流变, 318

[12] Chen Bingduo陈秉钊, Fan Junyong 范军勇. “Zun Zhong Li Shi Wa Jue Li Shi- Shanghai Wujiaochang Di Qu Li Shi Wen Hua Zi Yuan Zheng He Gui Hua 尊重历史 挖掘历史——上海五角场地区历史文化资源整合规划.” Urban Planning Forum 城市规划学刊 3 (2005): 25.

 

 

 

Bibliography

  1. Chen Bingduo陈秉钊, Fan Junyong 范军勇. “Zun Zhong Li Shi Wa Jue Li Shi- Shanghai Wujiaochang Di Qu Li Shi Wen Hua Zi Yuan Zheng He Gui Hua 尊重历史 挖掘历史——上海五角场地区历史文化资源整合规划.” Urban Planning Forum 城市规划学刊 3 (2005): 24-30.
  2. Chen Jiansheng 陈建生. “Shanghai Jiang Wan Ti Yu Chang Feng Feng Yu Yu 80 Zai 上海江湾体育场风风雨雨 80 载.” Science & Lifestyle 科学生活 9 (2014): 83-83.
  3. Li Jingyu 李璟昱, Jiang Wan Wu Jiao Chang- Jin Dai Zhong Guo Cheng Shi Hua De Dian Xing 江湾五角场 ——近代中国城市化的典型, Architectural Knowledge 建筑知识 03(2006): 9
  4. Shanghai Cheng Shi Gui Hua Zhi Bian Zuan Wei Yuan Hui 上海城市规划志编撰委员会, Shanghai Cheng Shi Gui Hua Zhi 上海城市规划志, Shanghai: Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences Press上海社会科学院出版社, 1999.
  5. Shanghai Shi Du Shi Ji Hua Wei Yuan Hui 上海市都市计划委员会, Da Shanghai Du Shi Ji Hua Zong Tu Cao An Bao Gao Shu 大上海都市计划总图草案报告书, Shanghai, 1946.
  6. Shanghai Special City Works Bureaus 上海特别市工务局, Zhan Hou She Shi Ji Ying 战后设施集影, Shanghai, 1947.
  7. Wei Shu魏枢, <The Greater Shanghai Plan> Qi Shi Lu—Jin Dai Shanghai Hua Jie Du Shi Zhong Xin Kong Jian Xing Tai De Liu Bian《大上海计划》启示录——近代上海华界都市中心空间形态的流变, Southeast University Press 东南大学出版社, 1995.
  8. Wang Chen 王辰, “Wujiaochang 五角场”, Oriental Morning Post 东方早报, 2014 April 18th.
  9. Wujiaochang Government 五角场人民政府编, Wujiaochang Zhen Zhi 五角场镇志, Shanghai:Science and Technology Literature Press 科学技术文献出版社, 1988.
  10. Xin Ping 忻平, Cong Shanghai Fa Xian Li Shi: Xian Dai Hua Jin Cheng Zhong De Shanghai Ren Ji Qi She Hui Sheng Huo 从上海发现历史: 现代化进程中的上海人及其社会生活. Shanghai, Shanghai Renmin Press 上海人民出版社, 1996.

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