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Turning negative spaces under bridges to colorful parks

Two "fruit-themed spaces" under bridges on the riverbank of the Suzhou Creek in Changning District have been officially opened.

The creek's walking track in the district, around 11.2 kilometers long from Jiangsu Road N. to the Outer Ring Road, opened at the end of last year.

The construction of many supporting facilities and attached spaces is underway, said Wu Daoqun, vice deputy of the district’s construction committee.

Pan Jing, one of the designers, added: "We aim to turn the grey and wet 'negative space’ under the bridge to 'positive space’ with cheers and laughter".

Lemon and watermelon are the themes, together with soft light, under the bridges of Kaixuan Road and Gubei Road.

Yellow makes people feel dynamic so the area under the Kaixuan Road Bridge is mainly for children and families, Pan said. There is a children’s climbing wall, benches and a swing. The red-themed space under the Gubei Road Bridge has benches and a story wall about the creek.

Meanwhile, one of the three animal-themed spaces under the Middle Ring Overpass on Beidi Road near the creek was launched at the beginning of the year.

The 3,700-square-meter new space, with the theme of pink flamingo, has a basketball court, a gym and a viewing platform.

After scanning the QR code via social media WeChat for payment, people can use the court from 9am to 9pm every day.

“We collected the needs of the residents living nearby via hundreds of questionnaires before we make the plan,” said Mao Xiangjie, one of the designers.

“The light, patterns and color were confirmed after much deliberation and negotiation according to traffic, residents and beauty.”

A 78-year-old man, surnamed Jiang, said he was surprised by the transformation.

“I have lived near Suzhou Creek since I was a child,” Jiang said. “The area was dirty with weeds, garages and even public urination so I didn’t like to visit here even if to just swing by.

“It is an eye-opener for me now, and it’s time to bring my wife here."

The construction of the other two spaces, themed as cheetah and zebra, with a sports service center, a basketball court and a baseball field, will be completed in June, Wu said.

“The total area of the three spaces will be around 3.5 hectares,” Mao said. “Pocket parks in Shanghai, especially for the urban district where land is scarce and expensive, are necessary for the public.”

Wu added: “The public space, including a skate park on Linhong Road, Fengling park on Beidi Road and themed spaces under the bridge, and many other recreation areas under construction will be linked by the creek’s walking track to show the history of the creek and art with intelligent design".

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