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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Old Shanghai Revamped

It is without a doubt that Shanghai has changed a lot in the past ten to fifteen years. Apart from being more open, modern, developed and rich, it has ever more energy. Foreign tourists and expatriates came from the West to experience Shanghai, while influencing how Shanghai redefined itself.

Tianzifang of Shanghai, China

If you ask the old fashion folks in Shanghai, they will tell you that Shanghai has been losing a lot of its "old" streets and buildings in the past ten to fifteen years. These old districts that carried more than memories are now modern buildings.

Some old buildings managed to survive from Shanghai's repaid development. However, only the exterior "out-shell" of these old buildings survived. The interior have been replaced with modern rooms and facilities. Arguably, this is not exactly preserving history. Just imagine that someone replace your inner sole while keeping your body the outer shell, would you consider yourself the same you?

A prime example of this phenomenon at Shanghai is Tianzifang or Tian Zi Fang (田子坊 in Chinese) at Taikanglu, Tai Kang Road. It can be a heaven for foreign visitors as the outside of these buildings are historical "Chinese" like, while the inside is clean and modern. Visitor can get a taste of the old Shanghai without walking through dirty and dark alleys. They can shop and dine at modern facilities.

From another prospective, whether this is good for Shanghai is arguable. Having said that, there are already plenty of similar set up in modern Shanghai. I am sure that Shanghai is certain how to best revamp and redefine itself, to leave the best for its future generations.