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Shanghai 2035: 6 Things There'll be More of in Shanghai

The gov't wants Shanghai to be a "modern metropolis" by 2035. What does that mean? More greenery! More metros! More historical preservation! Way, way more foreigners!
2018-01-15 18:41:39

At the start of 2018, the plan for "Shanghai 2035" (Chinese) was unveiled by the State Council. It lays the groundwork for a "global city" within 15-ish years. It's got ambitious goals, promises about air quality, and the usual spiel about Shanghai becoming a world center for "finance, trade and technological innovation." There's a lot to take in. But we don't work in the FTZ, so we've whittled it down to six things that will probably have the largest impact on daily life in the city.

Of course...take this all of this with a grain of salt. Who can say, really? Who can say what the future holds?

(The Shanghai gov't, evidently, and this is what they're saying.)



1. More, More, More Metro Stations

Metro stations for days. By 2035, Shanghai wants to up its current 666km of metro lines (the number of the--) to over 1,000km. For comparison, London has 402km. New York has 373km. Late last year we already saw Line 17 open past Hongqiao, and by 2025, there'll be extensions to Line 1, Line 2, Line 9, Line 12 and Line 13. Some new lines too! Line 15 and Line 19, taking different paths from Baoshan to Minhang, Line 18 (Baoshan-Pudong), and Line 14 (Jiading-Pudong). Get psyched for Line 14. Wuding Lu Station is square in the middle of the big gap over Jing'an Temple where all the new F&B is!

Shanghai's going to be like 80% tunnels. Walk gingerly on the pavement.


2. More Essential Services (For Less People)

The government wants 99% of residents to be a 15-minute walk from "essential public services"; fire stations, police stations, transport, restrooms, community-level administration, parks, etc. But there's a caveat.

To help make this 15-minute "life circle" a reality, Shanghai's capping the "long-term" population at 25 million, including work visa holders. The current official count is ~24 million. Some experts think it's closer to 30 million. 25 million would still be the largest metropolitan population in the world, and it shouldn't worry foreigners too much (see point 6), but it doesn't bode well for those on Shanghai's lower socioeconomic rungs.


3. More Reasons To Move Out To Jiading

Shanghai's been encouraging development outside "downtown" to get people to spread out and combat "big city sickness." Namely, the air pollution, strained public services, and traffic congestion that happens in high density megacities. Locals have been fairly quick to move out, foreigners have been slower to recognize that you can actually live outside Xuhui. That might change by 2035.

The plan is to (further) develop 16 "sub-centers" around the city, including Wujiaochang, Songjiang, Jiading, Xinzhuang and, interestingly, faraway Chongming Chengqiao; each will have an urban rail connection, at least one university, and a city-level hospital.

Fret not, inner-city-dwellers; "Little Lujiazui", the Bund, People's Square, and Xujiahui should see more art, culture, innovation, tech hubs, all the mod-cons of a future city. They're also "economizing land resources," and capping construction at about 50% of Shanghai's total land. Read: they'll be building more stuff underground.


4. More Forests, Greenery, and Blue Sky Days

That "life circle" thing should mean 90% of residents end up living five minutes from a (minimum 400sqm) park or a square. That construction cap also means that 23% of Shanghai should be covered in forest, part of the plan to improve the air quality, which has been getting worse recently.


5. More Historical Preservation

One for the history buffs; the urban planning councils have shifted priorities for historical areas from “tear down, renovate, preserve”(拆改留) to “preserve, renovate, tear down”(留改拆). So, hopefully less wholesale neighborhood demolitions, hopefully less relocations, hopefully more renovation and restoration of historical architecture. Hopefully not taking their queues from Paramount.


6. More Tourists, Way More Foreigners

More tourism's a no-brainer. It rakes in hundreds of billions of RMB annually. The government projects they'll have 14 million overseas tourists by 2035, double current numbers. That's still dwarfed by domestic numbers; over 250 million Chinese tourists visited Shanghai in 2014.

More surprising is the 800,000 foreigners they expect will live here by then. For scale, there are about 170,000 now. The Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences reports it's increasing by 7,000 foreign residents per year, but that rate still needs to quintuple if that number's going to be a reality.

If the latest visa regulations are a hint, they want 800,000 university-educated and/or very rich foreigners, probably spread out in those sub-centers. Even so, that's a staggering surge in foreigner population. How're they going to cope? We're going to need at least thirty new Cafes Des Stag's.