The Changing Shanghai

This is a normal Saturday. It is cloudy.

Ihad a short walk with Wendy near my home in Pudong.

This is a normal place in Pudong. Here are some random photos I took today. This is the beginning of 2007. I am very sure that after 1 year, the view will completely change. Who can predict what is going to happen in China these days? Take a look at these pictures.

Below: Women formed a dancing team to practice before the Hymall. They have drums and loud music. I am so happy that my apartment is still 2 minutes walk away from where they dance.


This is typically bricks on the sidewalk in Shanghai. It rained yesterday, so some parts are wet. The sidewalk is pretty clean now, since the Chengshan 成山 road was just completed one year ago. It is a pretty empty road now. Who knows what it may happen after 1 year, when the road extends to the east, and forms the backbone of the road system in Pudong?

Above: In the next one hour and a half, I am wandering in this area. This park was still not finished. 1 year ago, this area was a typically Pudong village, and one year later, it becomes a park. These two pictures are similar, taken from the 20th floor of a building nearby.

Above: On the north side of the building, high-raise residential areas have been completed. You can see how many buildings there. On the south and west of this building, it is still a construction site. I will show you soon. However, it is for sure that the area I show later will become the same in 2 years.

Construction site #1. Look at those big tube? It is the natural gas station, and there is a big yellow place? I don’t know what it is.

Construction site #2. There are many big machines like this around where I live. Construction is going on everywhere.

Above: This is a new bridge. As you can see from the picture, it is not completed. I am expecting the bridge to be completed within one month.

This is the water gate, the old one. According to the construction plan, this will become a river within the residential area. The water gate will be removed.

Above: This is the prototype of a new road. The road will extend to connect with the current road near my apartment, which was completed the last year.

Above: Construction site, again.

Look at this river. Boats are coming from the East China Sea and going to the Huangpu River. The area south of the river is still not developed yet.

Above: This is the completed park.

Change! Change! Change!

The reason I posted these pictures is to show people who are not in this city the sense of change.

On this land, change is happening on daily basis, instead of yearly. I am going to take some pictures the same time the next year to show you the changes. All the buildings are expected to finish the next year, and all the roads.

Shanghai and China is developing in a amazing speed. When people run, it is very clear that the old system needs to catch up with the economical growth. Just remember, there are more than 160 metro stations under construction concurrently in Shanghai.

12 thoughts on “The Changing Shanghai

  1. You are so right and it is difficult for the foreigners to understand the speed. At least for me.

    My first trip to Shanghai was in September 2004. I stayed at the Hilton and watched the lights in the evening from my hotel room and admired the view. I am a big fan of cityviews and the lights in the night. I didn’t have much time as I was just visiting for the weekend, long story, I might tell you that some other time :)

    I came back in September 2005. I had kind of lost my heart for China and wanted to learn more about it and I wanted to visit it again. I had so many USA trips already behind me and I thought that I do not get much more from there any longer. Not entirely true but my interest just shifted to China. And I had one much more important reason to come back to China. Again, I stayed at the Hilton and I was amazed how I didn’t remember seeing two of the buildings nearby before. They must have built them during the year. And I cannot remember the second terminal in Pudong International airport either …

    In November they were building all the time the new building next to Grand Hyatt. To me it seemed that they never stopped working – they just stopped all the work, which would cause noise for the night time.

    So, China and at least Shanghai is changing very rapidly and it is so amazing that you just have to believe Jian Shuo or then go there and look for it yourself. It is worth the trip. Just go there and be amazed how something is changing so unbeliably fast.

    I wish I would be there … I miss Shanghai, I don’t know why exactly.

  2. Miikka, thanks for sharing your experience of the city. Hilton has great view – on one side is the villa area of Xujiahui and the other direction (to the Nanjong Road and the Pudong airport) is the breath-taking high-raise buildings.

    You are welcome to visit again, and compare it with the last trip. There is always something going on in Shanghai. Sometimes people miss the reason to construct new buildings – people need better lives, and building new things does not always meet this need.

  3. I visited Shanghai for the first time in november. I lived there for about 20 days (in yanping lu, nanjing xi lu area)… While walking at night in the center of the city (well… the center is very vague, as Shanghai is growing so fast that the center is expanding)… i guess I was near to Renmin guangchang… some construction sites were still going on, and it was around 10pm!

    A wonderful city it is… I wouldn’t use the word “beautiful” to describe it, but it’s very interesting an full of life. you can feel it moving, developing, breathing, changing…

  4. Wow,I wonder if I’d recognize Pu Dong if it’s changing that much! Where are youlocated? I used to be out on Kang Qiao Road, not far from Kang Qiao town……

  5. The location of JC Mandarin hotel and Portman Ritz-Carlton Hotel at the opposite of the street are very good.

    the best shopping malls,Jin An Temple, Grace Churth (where Jiang JieShi and Song Meilin get married), Shanghai exhibition center are all nearby.

    All in all, West Nanjing Rd is the best rd in Sh in my eyes. i had lived there for 18 years since i was born :) my best memory is there. So i recommend every foreinger to pay a visit.

  6. Shanghai is absolutely changing at a rapid pace. I think if you come here frequently you can notice the changes…. Let’s see my first trip to Shanghai was in Summer 2003. We stayed in a hotel at Zhongshan Park…. at that time there was a metro station and the pizza hut, but we did not go further past the metrostation so I dont really remember what was there. I remember walking along Changning Lu and it was filled with places to buy constuction supplies and men in shops just wearing their underwear. We stayed at the Jinjang (something like that) hotel and outside there was a huge construction site and lots of noise….

    Fast forward to 2005 when I was looking to move to a new apartment in Shanghai and one of the places we looked at was in view from the hotel window… granted 2 years to build some apartments is not so amazing.

    So we moved to Shanghai in Summer of 2004. Our first apartment was on Wanping Lu near Huahai Zhong Lu. There was some hotel across the street. I clearly remember there were some buildings on our street that were torn down and a few weeks later there was a grassy area complete with trees where those buildings had been. It was that moment when I was amazed by the speed of changes in Shanghai.

    I also worked at Jiaotong University at that time… now when I see the campus it is constantly changing. It seems it has almost doubled in size in the last 2 years. I was working in the foreign language building (my office was there) and beyond my office there really wasnt much of anything… Now there is another half of campus beyond my former office. Hua Shi Da across the street is also growing quickly.

    I also notice more and more changes around Zhongshan Park. When we first took our kid there to play, I dont remember there being much to do or look at. Within 2 years there is a giant shopping mall open (which is constantly getting new shops). 4 starbucks in the area have come, a Papa John’s, a few Aijisen Ramens, and also another electronics store and a Carefour. In just the time we have lived in this 3rd apartment of ours… so for about a year and a half. Also Line 4 opened AND Line 2 was just extended. I think Line 3 is quite new as well. I am not so excited about the opening of Line 2 extension. It is nice to live at the end of the subway line.

    Shanghai is going to continue to change.

    To some extent, I wonder about the old buildings in Shanghai and if there are people going to great measures to preserve them. I hope they preserve enough of the “old” shanghai and that it doesnt just become a huge mass of new buildings that all look alike more or less….

    I also think that the young people in Shanghai dont know what it means to not have such a constant state of change. I wonder if they realize they are living at a special time in a great city’s history.

    I also wonder about Dubai. I hear it is also developing rapidly.

  7. Just wanted to say hello. I live in Taiwan but am thinking of moving to Shanghai this summer. Your blog has a lot of information. I even like some of the older posts that have information about living costs. The pics of your apartment are cool too!

    Any other sites off the top of your head that you could recommend? I’ve visited some of the forums like but perhaps there’s a favorite of yours…?


  8. Hello. I have just stumbled upon your blog and I love it. I’m thinking about moving to Shanghai from Melbourne mid 07 and am very excited about it. I was born and lived in Shanghai until I was 10 before moving to Melb with my parents. I have visited Shanghai many times in the past 15 years and have partially witnessed the rapid change/development. It really is very exciting being part of this great city and I’m looking forward to meeting many interesting people when I eventually get my act together and move back :)

  9. you know what, for some reason i also miss shanghai…but just like you i don’t know why!

    i’ve been there during spring and winter of 2004 and spring of 2005…and i do plan to go back!

  10. thanks so much. i love shanghai. i use shangsai as my book’s setting.

    and i want to visit shanghai.

    hope next time i can visit shanghai.

    and i’m interest with xintiandi.

    thank you.

    glad to know you.

  11. My family and I are considering a relocation to Shanghai for approximately 2 years, beginning Spring of 2009. From reading all the blog postings, I’m very apprehensive. We would be moving from the US and specifically the Midwest. We have 2 small children that we’d be bringing with us. I’d love to learn more about children living as an Expat in Shanghai, schools, family neighborhoods….do they exist? Given all of the comments about the changing Shanghai and the thiings that people miss and those things that people aren’t so fond of, is Shanghai an appropriate place to raise 2 small US citizen children? I’d appreciate any feedback possible. Thank you!

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