Retrospective: Pearl of the Orient

Looking back to my stay in Shanghai and feeling  little guilty for my delayed diary entry about it, I can’t help but feel a strange sense of nostalgia. The city, as advanced and cosmopolitan as it is, lingers on a heavy scent of history. Even its diversity stems from a geo-historical context.

The Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Centre is dedicated to showcasing the composition of the city. It stands in the city centre, beside People’s Park.

The climate was misty, characteristic of the water bound city.

It is rated a National AAAA class Tourist Attraction and National Science Education Base. The emphasis of urban planning education is evident in Shanghai, and the fact that similar exhibition centres exist in other renowned cities and towns such as Beijing, Suzhou, Hangzhou and Chongqing suggests that the government recognizes its importance.

The juxtaposition of tradition Shanghainese Nongtang (in a Shanghainese accent it sounds like Longtang) creates a hybrid of Shikumen architecture. It intrigues me, and opens me to new perspectives — perhaps the invasion of foreign architecture can spark something new, and local. 

Even the Chinese characters, the architecture speaks a different language entirely. Here, it is a mark of the city’s history and the foundation for what proceeds.