I still prefer my name for Holland Village… SHANGSTERDAM.
Holland Village [map], another housing project part of the “1 City – 9 Towns” initiative the Shanghai Planning Commission set up in 2001. Designed by Dutch architects, this project, like Thames Town (see my posts of Thames Town here and here), is not quite a success, partly because it is located too far away from the city (20min walk to metro, then over an hour to Peoples Square), and partly because Chinese tastes do not suit with Dutch architecture, nevermind the price tag of 35,000RMB per square meter. Hardly as intricate as the “British” Thames Town (not even a single bike stall!), but definitely worth a visit and walk around. Just about as much as a ghost town as the “British” Town, but a few more locals walking around, as Holland Village (aka Shangsterdam!) is better integrated with the surrounding town of Gao Qiao, whereas Thames Town was a seriously locked-down housing complex (with only 2 entrances/exits).
To visit Shangsterdam, you can easily walk from the North Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone station, the second to last stop on line 5. Then an easy, and picturesque (see previous post) 20min walk following the river through traditional Chinese streets and you’ll eventually see the windmill located on an island in the middle of the river you’ve been following.
Last Sunday [while it was snowing!] I went with my girl to hit up the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center (Official site / Frommer’s site), which is home to the largest to-scale city model in the world: Shanghai 2020!
I have always been a architecture fiend, and this was a hidden delight. Well, maybe not so hidden, as the Exhibition Center is located inside a massive modern building in the middle of People’s Square. 5 floors of exhibits chronicle the history and modernization of Shanghai, from the feudal dynasties (SH was a fishing village), to when the first Europeans arrived to trade (SH was a fishing village), through to today (when SH was a massive city), and on into the future (when SH turns into the worlds’ economic metropolis of the world (you heard it hear first!)).
Old photographs were what I found the most interesting, as the trasformation of this city is truly beyond words. Just look at the image of the Pudong skyline in my last post, when I was in Shanghai for the first time some 10 years ago, only 3-4 buildings were built (including the Pearl Tower), so I can only imagine what Shanghai will look like in another decade in 2020… oh wait nevermind, on the 5th floor they have the worlds largest to-scale city-model in the world: Shanghai 2020!
The center obviously showcases much about the upcoming Shanghai Expo, and I can’t wait to see some of the structures they are planning to build, truly remarkable stuff. Still can’t decide which one I will like more… Thomas Heatherwick’s UK Pavilion (consisting of 60,000 transparent rods) or the Switzerland Pavilion by Buchner Bründler Architects (which has a ski lift through, over, and around it -no I am not joking).