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Shanghai city trip with nightlife & China


The first encounter with China is maybe via Pudong and Hongqiao Airport. After you settle in your hotel maybe for an exhibition or as a tourist start your city trip, have a look at Yuyuan Garden. There are several markets nearby to make you smell exotic air and the 

Shanghai museum is also not far away.Actually the museum is a must for anyone visiting this great city. Bund and the waterfront cant be missed it wont matter from which direction you come, its the most famous spot in the city together with Nanjing Road and Circus.

Shanghai nightlife is great, but might become expensive, you know Chinese girls have a very   materialistic thinking and consider you a cheap charley when you don't show big spender habit, so you better be careful and give your credit card only at the end of the session, and when they make the

 credit card imprint watch very careful, take the credit card back immediately after, otherwise several imprints might be made and you have some big problems the month later.

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Shanghai restaurants are plenty and you better stay with Chinese restaurants, don't start to experiment with some strange restaurants like Mexican etc. you will end up in a mess. Anyway enjoy your stay and consider to be lucky when you have a good weather without smog. But in the evening all ways will lead to the nightlife spots.

Shanghai Pudong Huangpu River
Pudong Huangpu River panorama with bund and center.

Shanghai the famous city on

China's east cost and at the delta of the Yangtze River has currently a population of about 13 million residents. There are some more millions moving in and out of the city every day, the city is also known as Shen or Hu Tu, after the locally used bamboo fish traps. The city occupies a area of 6.341sq. km, four seasons bring a pleasant climate during the whole year (snow sometimes, because of the geographic location the temperature can quickly turn to unpleasant levels). The average temperature is about 18 degrees C and the annual precipitation about 1.240 mm. Unfortunately most of the time the sun is not visible due to haze. It's somehow similar to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur during the haze period because of the fires in Indonesia.

The geographical position is latitude roughly the same as the South of  the Mediterranean Sea in Europe. Shanghai is under the direct  administration of the central government. This is a large trade and commercial center and a human melting point since ancient times, dating back to the third century B.C. Already during the Song Dynasty 宋朝; (960 - 1279 A.D) Shanghai was well known for its harbor operation. During the Ming Dynasty  明朝 (1368 - 1644 A.D) the city became the leading textile center for cotton material in China.

The first major custom office to handle foreign trade was set up in 1685 during the Qing Dynasty 清朝, resulting in a busy interaction between the ocean, coastal and river shipping.

market near yuyuan garden
City near Yuyuan Garden

In 1840 (after the first "opium war") the British / East India company forced the locals in Shanghai to open the harbor, they simply had the better weapons. The result was a division of the city of Shanghai into zones of influence (concessions) by the foreign political players. In 1847 the French turned up, in 1895 the Japanese, later the Italians etc..

The foreign commercial operations (trading houses, banks etc.) were concentrated on the 1.5 km stretch along the Huangpu River between Waibaidu Bridge and Yan'an Donglu, called The Bund, this is  a impressive piece of the city attracting thousands of people every evening to enjoy the beautiful panorama along the waterfront.


Shanghai and nightlife

is a old symbiosis. In the 193x opium and gambling dens, bars with plenty of bar girls produced a vibrant atmosphere in nightclubs and restaurants, since many restaurants just functioned as a front for sexy nightlife with Chinese girls coming in from all over the country to get things done and have their share on the economy, doesn't this sound very similar to today?

China, the giant of the 21. Century, the workbench of the world, a great tourist attractions and nightlife moves in quick, attraction of the

night on the streets are plenty, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, barber shops for a quickie and manual work, traditional Chinese dance and folklore are performed in certain theaters and night time entertainment is becoming more and more slippery with styled senoritas.

A view into the city shows

an explosion of new buildings including new infrastructure, parks and conservation.
Shanghai presents a unique almost control-model kind of urban subject matter among world metropolises. I
t is a city which after experiencing incredible economic prosperity through the turn of the nineteenth century froze its free market development under thirty years of failed socialist revolution, and then started again on an accelerating trajectory towards capitalist ideals. The city currently exists in a giddy state of equilibrium between government control and market forces, the monolithic state regime acting as a valve for releasing massive forces which would otherwise send the country into a multi-directional frenzy of socio-economic instability. It is an increasingly well-documented picture of intersecting sociological vectors and is clearly shown in urban form transforming so rapidly as to render it inapplicable to traditional static analysis. Visitors should be warned of making hasty conclusions about a city which lends itself too easily to cliché and whose presence in popular imagination is potently fuelled by a mythologized past.
shanghai architecture
The government continues to invest heavily in urban infrastructure -- the kind of investment which represents the hardware of any global city. Since the early 1990s, which saw construction of overhead expressways and an underground transit network, the city has seen massive upgrades in its infrastructure.

A fifth road bridge over the Huangpu River with two new under-river tunnels under construction eased the traffic a bit. The outer ring road has recently been completed; the world's first commercial magnetic levitation rail system links Pudong airport with the central city; public green space is marked to triple per capita by 2020.

These measures are accelerating the city into modernization and to some degree designed to impress a world audience. Whether the bureaucrats can manage the hardware and sustain modernization beyond the construction of bridges and subway lines is yet to be seen.

One of the most high-profile development in recent years has been Xintiandi.

Here architects preserved and reconstructed two city blocks of shikumen (literally, 'stone gate') houses and opened a public spine through the middle to create a dining/retail/entertainment district capitalizing on the historic value of the distinctly Shanghainese building type. Xintiandi is a site rich in irony -- here the city's privileged classes dine on sushi adjacent to a house memorialized as the site of the Communist Party's first congress. And while the project introduces quality urban public space to a city increasingly reliant on indoor shopping malls, it is a semi-private space under the burden of heavy automated surveillance and guards who will exclude shabby-looking locals. The development is but one stage of a massive urban intervention which sees neighboring blocks to be developed with 

high-rise serviced apartments, luxury apartments, hotel and artificial lake. Preservation enthusiasts have largely been impressed with Xintia ndi, though the success of the project has inflated land values in the district and is leading to the quick demolition of neighboring shikumen communities as property prices soar. It is an increasingly common condition of modern cities that historic conservation can only be successful when preservation goals are aligned with those of developers and inevitably those of the massive global tourism industry.

Traditional housing in Shanghai from the mid-nineteenth century consisted mostly of lilongs

or dense networks of connected two-storey buildings occupying a city block with shops fronting outwards onto public streets, and residences above accessed from internal alleyways. The term lilong refers to these alleyways which are first reached through gateways from main streets, and then are hierarchically organized through semi-public, semi-private and private lanes and courtyards throughout the block. The apparent lack of formalized public space in the history of Chinese architecture can be partially explained by this model -- residents talk, cook, eat, wash and play in these alleyways and form a strong social fabric which extends the nuclear family unit to a network of extended family and neighbors. This homogeneous mat of housing throughout the city was augmented with uniform medium-rise worker housing in the '50s and '60s. In recent years with wholesale razing of neighborhoods for high-rise developments and transplanting entire communities to government subsidized housing on the city's fringes (part of the massive shift towards private home ownership), comes the discontinuation of a way of life which gave at least a semblance of stability and security to the city's inhabitants.

As regrettable as it is to see such lively urban fabric instantly erased,

clearing such communities is an upgrading of the city's amenities and marks just the latest wave of urban renewal. The low-rise clustered urban form was a result of developers in the late nineteenth century rushing to meet new housing demands in a city transforming itself from feudal village into modern city. At the onset of the Communist revolution, the state assumed ownership of land and enforced a collectivized model of living.

Municipal agencies have now identified nearly four hundred structures and 11 districts as 'fine historic buildings and zones', for example, detached garden houses in the former French concession. Such policy seeks to preserve an urban form unique among Chinese cities, though a clear strategy for their ownership, upkeep and protection has yet to be approved.

A parallel phenomenon to the displacement of lower class residents sees citizens from the burgeoning middle class renting closer to the centre of the city in a glut of residential apartment complexes. Developers have been having a field day buying rights and providing upmarket housing in the form of post-modern pastiches taking on such names as Versailles and the French Riviera. Further up the economic scale, developers are also pillaging the worst of Western sprawl with gated communities and suburban replica villages in far flung Pudong, Gubei and Hongqiao districts.

Exemplars of contemporary architecture are still mainly the domain of foreign architects -- SOM, KPF, Jerde, Foster, MVRDV, Wood+Za
pata, Arquitectonica and RTKL all have projects here, with Tange, Graves and many others well on the way. While the presence of foreign design expertise is upping the ante with local design institutes and contributing to an international standardized cityscape, these buildings with notable exceptions are largely singular monuments. Planning authorities, property developers and architects have rarely beneficially focused interests. The Lujiazui financial districts opposite the Bund and the rest of Pudong have succumbed to engineering-led urban planning and scale less development parcels which leave little opportunity for an urbane pedestrian environment. Huaihai and Nanjing roads have developed as credible 'market streets' and their skylines have given hierarchy to the city's urban form. As the public domain is upgraded and the built fabric stitched together over time, hopefully we will see a more legible environment for humans within this realm of isolated shopping malls and high-rise towers with some Shanghai nightlife.

The urban architecture of Shanghai is the physical corollary of the paradoxes and conflicts in current political dogma, a turbulent modern history and an inherently flexible and resourceful people.
Author  Darryl Chen  COPYRIGHT EMAP Architecture  and Gale Group

The Hangzhou bridge
Hangzhou Bridge over the bay
Hangzhou Bridge

The world's longest sea bridge has been opened between Shanghai and Ningbo some time ago

The 36 kilometers long Hangzhou Bay bridge shortens the distance between the two cities by 120 kilometers for 1.1 billion euro construction cost. Six lanes for car traffic are available.

So far, the Donghai Bridge from Shanghai to Yangshan with 32.5 kilometers is the longest sea bridge in the world






Hangzhou Bridge four lanes over the bay
Hangzhou Bridge


Hangzhou Bay Bridge in China
Hangzhou Bay Bridge




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