Shanghai Old Town Master Plan

The Shanghai Old Town Master Plan calls for the respectful revitalization of one of Shanghai’s most historic districts. Old Town is situated at the ancient center of the city, which was once surrounded by a defensive wall. SOM's plan protects the historic character and intimate scale of the area's streetscapes, buildings, and urban forms. Through a series of thoughtful design interventions, the plan fosters new, transit-oriented development, while avoiding the detrimental effects of recent urbanization—the wider streets and massive structures that have at times diminished the cityscape.

The master plan preserves low, dense structures and historic-scaled public spaces inside the ancient city center, while proposing taller buildings in specific locations to create a sense of arrival. Higher-density zones outside the historic walled area will fulfill the district’s development potential and provide contrast to the lower density of Old Town.

The proposed mixed-use development includes plans for housing, commercial, retail, hospitality, and cultural sites. The plan seeks to attract new industries to Old Town that will stimulate economic growth, diversity, and innovation, and also strengthen connections to surrounding areas.