Project: Gubei Pedestrian Promenade
Location: Shanghai, China
Firm: SWA Group
Year: 2009
Firm website:

Project Description: The Gubei Pedestrian Promenade is a rare example where a city chose to rezone a vehicular road into a 700-meter long pedestrian-only sanctuary.  The sheer scale of the project serves as an inspiration for those who believe in the impossible – balance the “development frenzy” (characterized by rampant disregard for a sustainable urban fabric) with public open spaces that reduce the urban heat-island effect, allow for flexible around the clock activities, and promote healthy living through outdoor exercise, stress relieving activities and social interaction.

On the world stage, Shanghai can be seen as China’s “window to the world:” a modern-day marvel with a kaleidoscopic history.  Among great cities, modern Shanghai is unique in its approach to arts and culture, its embrace for diversity from the influx of transient workers, and its desire to reinvent itself on a daily basis. In addition, as we grapple with the growing threats of global warming and human sustainability, city-living in Shanghai has become a more sustainable alternative for those who wish to tread lightly on the environment.

Set within the Changning District in western Shanghai, Gubei is a bustling urban community with growing groups of international families and young professionals. Many are attracted to this area due to its relaxed lifestyle and the district’s dedicated effort in providing multi-cultural facilities for its residents. 700 meters in length and averaging 60m in width, the Promenade and the East, West Entry Parks are the centerpiece of a 35.6 hectare mixed-use residential project.  The linear site is divided into 3 blocks separated by two north-south neighborhood streets, with a development program of high-rise residential towers, varying from 15-28 stories in height with 2-story ground floor commercial uses.  The project maintains an open space ratio of over 60% with an FAR of 2.9.

Project Team Members:
SWA Project Team: Ying-Yu Hung, Gerdo Aquino, Hyun-Min Kim, Leah Broder, Kui-Chi Ma, Dawn Dyer, Yoonju Chang, Shuang Yu, Ryan Hsu, John Loomis, Jack Wu, Al Dewitt
Construction Documentation LDI: Shanghai Beidouxing Landscape Design Institute
Contractor: Shanghai Shangfang Luhua Co Ltd

Image Credits:
Renderings, SWA Group. Photography by Tom Fox.