What can citizens do in 15 minutes’ walk from their home? The answer in Shanghai is everything they need in a community covering living, working, studying, traveling and elderly care.
Shanghai’s biennial urban space art season has opened across the city to share the city’s practices of building “15-minute community life circles” with the world.
The Shanghai Urban Space Art Season 2021, the third since it was initiated in 2015, is ongoing at the main site at Columbia Circle, a century-old site renovated from the Shanghai Institute of Biological Products, once the city’s major vaccine production base.
Art exhibitions, seminars and other public activities are also being held in many local communities, such as Xinhua and Caoyang, through the end of November for the art season which has a “15-Minute Community Life Circle: People’s City” theme.
Artists from across the nation have been invited to create art installations or conduct micro-revamping projects for the communities to highlight their convenient services and public facilities.
The key exhibition is being held at Columbia Circle on Yan’an Road W., while 21 model neighborhoods across the city’s 14 districts will host the rest of the events.
Shanghai initiated the idea to build a “15-minute community life circle” in 2014 and noted the concept in its master plan for 2035. Within a 15-minute walk, citizens are expected to have access to various services related to living, working, studying, traveling and elderly care.
Cecilia Andersson, chief of the Planning Finance and Economy Section of the United Nations Human Settlements Program, said Shanghai has really shown that communities are enjoying a better environment using the approach.
“It has raised awareness of collaboration, participation and communal cohesion,” Andersson said.
Zhuang Shaoqin, vice minister of China’s Ministry of Natural Resources, said such practices in Shanghai and other Chinese cities have offered a new “people-oriented” urban regeneration measure.
“Chinese therapies and wisdom are expected to positively influence the world’s future urban lifestyle and development as well as improve social governance,” Zhuang told the opening ceremony.
World metropolises such as Paris, Melbourne and Ottawa have launched similar campaigns to create 15- or 20-minute city or community environs, said Xu Yisong, director of Shanghai Urban Planning and Natural Resources Bureau.
“Compared with them, Shanghai has created a complete action plan and over 180 projects have been completed to effectively improve the community environment and services,” Xu said.
Shanghai Vice Mayor Zhang Wei said the art season aims to widely promote the 15-minute community life circle concept and provide more models and Chinese wisdom for community planning and construction in the new era.
Locals and tourists can learn about the practices of model communities by visiting the neighborhoods, taking in community artworks and talking with residents.
China’s Ministry of Natural Resources has listed Shanghai’s “15-minute circle” concept as a pilot project to be promoted nationwide. A guide on community life circle planning has been released and taken effect on July 1, 2021.
The city’s previous urban space art seasons were held at former industrial sites, including the Huangpu River waterfront in Yangpu District, a renovated aircraft hangar and an old grain silo that was once the largest in Asia. It is the first time that the art season has been moved to a community level.
“Artists hope to incorporate their works into people’s life like cells, with no bother to their normal life but still affecting them,” said Shen Lieyi, one of the curators of the main exhibition at Columbia Circle.
Shanghai International Culture Association
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