Shanghai will open three new country parks between July and October, the city's top planning body said yesterday.
The Pujiang, Jiabei and Guangfulin country parks in Minhang, Jiading and Songjiang districts will open in July, September and October respectively, said Wang Xunguo, deputy director with the Shanghai Planning, Land and Resources Administration at a press conference.
The city government is pushing to demolish outdated factories in suburban districts to create space both for country parks and for good quality agricultural land.
Forty-one square kilometers of former industrial land have been redeveloped since the demolishing campaign started in 2014, Wang said.
They will be replaced by some 20 suburban country parks covering a total of 130 square kilometers to improve the environment and air quality for local residents, he added.
Two parks — Changxing Island and Jinshan Langxia country parks — have already opened to public.
These parks, which both offer free admission, help urban dwellers to relax, promote the sales of farm products, and preserve local ecosystems, said Gu Shoubai, director with the land arrangement center under the administration.
"Many high-quality farmlands have been formed within the parks after the waterways were dredged and forests were planted," Gu said.
Of the parks to open, the 14-square-kilometer Jiabei Country Park will become the largest park in the city's northwest area. The first phase of the park, covering half of the total area, will feature 3 square kilometers of paddy fields, as well as a bamboo forest and lavender and fruit gardens. A 6km-long pedestrian path will be built along with 17 sightseeing bridges over its 20km-long waterway, officials said.
The 15-sq-km Pujiang Country Park will feature a 190,000 sq meter forest with basketball courts and concert halls set among trees.
In Pujiang park, the city's only remaining ferry port for trains will open to the public for the first time.
Guangfulin Country Park in Songjiang District — where Shanghai's earliest known residents lived some 4,000 years ago — will open with museums, exhibition halls and farmland.
The park is built on the Guangfulin archaeological site, discovered in 1958.
Wang said that environmental concerns had pushed authorities into tearing down outdated industrial plants and replacing them with ecological parks.
"The current initiative removes companies emitting high pollution and returns rustic charm to areas where foul-smelling rivers and decrepit factories once reigned," he said.
To compensate the factory owners, the city government offers about 300 yuan (.90) per square meter in subsidy for the lands being transformed, along with other incentives.
The factories are being relocated to more suitable areas, such as the Zhuqiao-Qidong Industrial Park jointly established by the Pudong New District and the municipal government of Nantong in neighboring Jiangsu Province, according to the administration.