Mega-cities deal with transformation through renewal

Urban renewal should enhance the current living environment, foster economic development, and boost commercial activity, all while catering to the future needs of the city.

Photo by Fan Jianlei

Photo by Fan Jianlei

By WANG Tingting


As World Cities Day approaches, accelerating the transformation and development of big cities and constructing a sustainable urban future are the new agenda.

The urban renewal model has undergone significant recent changes with a heightened focus on renewal and with new methods and standards.

Urban renewal has three basic dimensions: social, economic, and environment. Social is about human issues, economic pertains to industry and finance, while the environmental addresses the quality of space.

Land is essential in urban renewal and China currently has a very strict land management system. Urban renewal relies on utilizing land for innovation and ensuring its success. Each category of renewal requires precise analysis and strategies for success. Each must serve the needs of the living environment, economic development, and commercial consumption.

LI Hongzhong, general manager of Shanghai Urban Renewal Construction Development, with years of experience in participating in Shanghai’s urban renewal, believes that urban renewal is closely related to three key elements: financial control, heritage preservation, and policy framework.

For businesses involved in urban renewal, achieving financial balance is crucial, which is challenging due to its historical and sustainable development aspects.

In terms of heritage preservation, it is essential to protect cultural relics at the same time injecting new life into them.

A robust policy framework also plays a big role in urban renewal, without which high-quality and sustainable urban renewal would not have reached its current stage.

According to Li, the per person living space in Shanghai has increased from less than 4 square meters to the current 33 square meters after 30 years’ efforts.