"Ju Fu Chang" is the abbreviation of Julu, Fumin and Changle roads, an area dotted with cobblestone alleyways, historic buildings, artsy boutiques and chic cafes under lines of sycamore trees. They form the city's most beautiful blocks, but at the same time cramp efforts to improve local environment during urban renewal.
Local residents were recently surprised to find something new in the blocks. Illegal structures were removed and old facilities were improved, thanks to collective wisdom and effort.
In May, advisers of Jing'an, Shanghai and China, together with local residents, retailers and officials, attended a meeting held at Plaza 66 to discuss how to improve the environment of "Ju Fu Chang."
"We have visited several spots on 'Ju Fu Chang', doing field research to get to know the problems," said advisor Zhou Feng. "So, we were determined to focus on improving the local business environment, cultural ambience and participation of local residents and retailers in community affairs."
At the meeting, advisers proposed solutions some of which have been carried out.
Xia Liuwei said "Ju Fu Chang" leads the city in retailing trends, and at the same time it is rich in history and culture. But the old design of the block can't meet today's needs. "In particular, people often complain about aging facilities and lacking of property management, such as parking in narrow alleyways," he said.
Two weeks after the meeting, Li Zhen, Party chief of Gubai neighborhood of the Nanjing Road W. Subdistrict, was surprised to see the garbage storage on the sidewalk at the corner of Julu Road and Xiangyang Road N. finally removed.
"The neighborhood has been upset by the problem for so long. And I didn't expect that it could be solved in such a short time," she said.
She recalled that when she mentioned the problem at the meeting, many advisers supported her, especially those who joined the investigation tour.
Among them, adviser Kong Guowei said he works very near and he also found there is a particular need to remove them.
"They were just right there on the sidewalk. Pedestrians had to take risks walking on driveways. In summer, the surrounding area was fetid with stink," he said.
After the meeting, authorities acted quickly to remove the garbage. What's more, they put up a new "smart" garbage storage not far away on Lane 6, Xiangyang Road N.
It allows people to throw different waste in different litter bins. It is equipped with monitoring cameras and voice reminders. People can scan the QR code to unlock the corresponding litter bins instead of touching them. Also, their waste can be automatically weighed.
However, it's not the only problem.
At the meeting, Zhang Guhan, chairman of the "Ju Fu Chang" retailer alliance, said he hoped authorities could allow local cafes and restaurants to place outdoor seating, and at the same time strengthen efforts to manage parking of mopeds.
In response, Nanjing Road W. Subdistrict has narrowed the space for parking of mopeds in front of the creative park on 758 Julu Road. A plan to improve the local environment, including adding outdoor seating, has been made.
Also, Zhou proposed to integrate local cultural and historical resources to promote local buildings, people and stories.
Just two weeks later, a reading event was held by the subdistrict and Shanghai Writers' Association. More than 40 people took part, walked along tree-lined roads and visited historical buildings to get a better understanding of local "red," "haipai" and "Jiangnan" cultures.
Han Yulong, owner of a coffee brand, said cafes could attract more people and make people stay, and thus the block could foster its coffee ambience. It was echoed by adviser Cheng Guo Liang who mentioned that Jing'an, the birthplace of coffee in Shanghai, has held coffee cultural festivals for years.,
So, for this year's Shanghai Jing'an World Coffee Culture Festival, the district's culture and tourism bureau released a map identifying 100 coffee shops offering a myriad of types, such as Italy's venerable brand Lavazza, wanghong (Internet celebrity) store Paras and "red"-themed The People that opened at Sihang Warehouse Battle Memorial.
During the festival, 10,000 maps featuring coupons of listed coffee shops were distributed, enabling people to taste distinctive coffee in different shops.
A wide range of coffee-related activities were also held across the district, such as a coffee fair at Jiuguang mall and a pop-up free coffee tasting event at Jing'an Kerry Center.