Urban planning in Shanghai - Professor Ruan Yisan (pt 2/3)

Shanghai has 16 million residents, making it the most densely populated city in the world. Unable to hold any more, the local government is forcing people to relocate to the suburbs.

In Pudong, the financial centre, buildings are already touching the sky. The greatest challenge of all, though, is creating green, open spaces for people to relax in. But ‘greening’ cost a lot of money.

Professor Ruan Yisan takes us to Chenghuangmiao, built over 500 years ago during the Ming Dynasty, to show us a case of restoration gone horribly wrong. He had originally advocated giving the buildings a makeover - in his words, 'a good scrub and new dentures'. Instead, designers virtually rebuilt it, making the buildings taller and wider. Although this is now a highly popular tourist attraction, it has lost its authenticity and original charm. So Professor Ruan now spends much of his time spreading the message about sensible restoration, regularly gives lectures to government officials from all over China about preserving their architectural history before it's too late.

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3 minutes

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