• Preserving culture in Shanghai's old town

    2010-09-30

    One of the boons of Asian travel is exploring different cultures. Yet in rapidly-developing cities like Shanghai in China, the government must strike a delicate balancing act between looking to the future and preserving the past.

    A good example of that is Duolun Lu, a famous pedestrian street that runs through the Hongkuo district in Shanghai. According to the New York Times, this streets harkens back to Shanghai's past, namely the 20s and 30s, when activist writers sought refuge from censorship in cafes and buildings lining the street.

    Although the government has officially declared Duolun Lu to be protected from development, many residents are wary of that status. Other areas that were supposed to be preserved quickly fell to profitable apartment complexes and other developments.

    For now, Duolun Lu retains its old world charm, although many of the historic buildings have gotten small facelifts for preservation's sake. And some new areas have proven to be popular with locals, like Lu Xun Park, named after the famous writer who lived on Duolun Lu. The new public space has become a gathering place for residents and houses a museum dedicated to the writer's legacy.

    Still, given the street's uncertain future and the rapidly-expanding metropolis of Shanghai, travelers may want to experience the culture of this area before it's lost for good.


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