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The road less travelled: footprints of the past still visible in cultural hotbed
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Songjiang New City

The Shanghai municipal government launched its "One City, Nine Towns" program in 2001 to re-house 1 million people in new satellite areas, each with a separate theme.

Of these, however, only Songjiang New City, located in the north of Songjiang District, can really be called a city due to its grand scale. Already bearing a strong British architectural flavor, it will in the long run become a medium-sized city spanning 60 sq k and capable of accommodating 500,000 residents.

Songjiang University Town, covering an area of 8,000 mu (5.33 Sq km), is situated in the northwest of Songjiang New City and in the south of the Sheshan National Tourism Resort. It is about 30 km south of downtown Shanghai and features beautiful surroundings, shared resources and foreign architectural styles.

There are seven key universities in the town and the campuses are separated by rivers and green belts. They are built in different styles and collectively hold about 100,000 students and teachers. The university town has a 40,000-sq-m gymnastic center which ranks as the second-largest in the world. There is also a 2.5-km-long pedestrian street for students filled with stores, restaurants and theaters.

As Songjiang University Town continues to mature and develop, it not only adds more of a cultural atmosphere to Songjiang district, but also provides strong human resource support for the economic development and social advancement of Songjiang district.

Thames Town, located on Sanxin Road N. in Songjiang New City, is another item that should be added to any travel itinerary in the area. This community, an imitation of a traditional British town, spans roughly 1 sq m and was only completed in 2004. It is equipped with Georgian and Victorian style villas and apartments surrounded by a lake, rivers, bushes and trees. The lakefront also opens onto the four-star Liston Hotel, a Gothic church, advanced kindergartens and schools, supermarkets, clubs and clinics. As well as art galleries, bars, cafes and fashion stores the town also boasts other first-class entertainment activities and fashion parties to bolster its claim to rank as a creative paradise.

The town's natural environment also makes for exquisite and tranquil walks, putting it much in demand by newlyweds who come here to have their wedding photos taken. It is surprising to find such a peaceful place in the middle of a bustling metropolis and therein lies much of its hidden charm.

Songjiang Wushe Agricultural Leisure and Sightseeing Park

The Songjiang Wushe Agricultural Leisure and Sightseeing Park is located in the water resource conservation zone in the upper reaches of the Huangpu River with an area of 11.19 sq km.

Founded in 2001, it is a municipality level agricultural leisure and sightseeing park that has developed into a place perfectly integrating tourism and agriculture. There are leisure farms such as the green grapery, tomato farm, aquatic farm and flower farm as well as facilities such as sightseeing parks displaying farmed species of dogs and tortoises. There is also a turtle-breeding base as well as flower and vegetable plantations. There visitors can help pick fruits and fresh vegetables and enjoy a nutritious cooked meal at a farmer's home. The park is also equipped with advanced meeting and entertainment facilities.

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