A green oasis in the heart of Shanghai’s historic French Concession
Shanghai’s rich history unfolds all around as you make your way through the streets of the former French Concession to Jiashan Market.
Today, the plane-tree lined streets of the area are home to a vibrant mix of the local and international, with scores of cafes, tea houses, shops and restaurants. Street-side vegetable markets and old shiku¬men lane house blocks stand side by side with contemporary art gal-leries, gleaming office towers and trendy boutiques.
Shanghai’s neighborhoods traditionally have blended work, home and recreation — a long history of what today’s urban theorists like to call “mixed use.” People still live around the corner from where they work, frequent lively street markets and small local food stalls, and relax among neighbors on street corners and in family-owned restau¬rants and shops.
Since its establishment in 1979 as the Shanghai Knitting Factory 25 (F25), the Jiashan Market complex has always been a vital part of this vibrant, tightly knit and entrepreneurially spirited Shanghai neighbor¬hood. In 1984, the factory closed down but the space became a fresh market, housing vendors selling all manner of fruits, vegetables, fish, fowl and livestock until 2009. That’s when the adjoining shikumen neighborhood was demolished in favor of a high-rise development, opening Jiashan Market to renovation.
Epic Change and Continuous Community
Typical shikumen (“stone gate”) houses are accessible via narrow lanes cutting through three-story brick-and-stone complexes dating from the 1920s and 1930s, when Chinese migrants flooded into Shanghai during a period of social and economic upheaval. Just across from the Shaanxi Nan Lu entrance to Jiashan Market, an excellent example of the unique East-West architectural shikumen blend can be found at Cité Bourgogne, completed in 1930 and home to families that have been there for generations
Concession-era villas and Art Deco apartment buildings are the other signature historical styles on display in the neighborhood, vividly recalling Shanghai’s legendary Jazz Age days. The ‘20s and ‘30s were times of intrigue, when gangsters and foreign agents rubbed shoulders with Communist and Kuomintang activists in the shadow of expanding Japanese power — all while European, American and enterprising Chinese businessmen made and spent huge sums, supporting a colorful population of musicians, dancers, writers and artists.
Today, despite the city’s ongoing hypermodern facelift, history lives on in the area’s unique heritage archi¬tecture. Jiashan Market helps preserves this heritage by renovating its old factory site and carrying on the local tradition of indoor-outdoor market spaces that integrate smoothly with residential and business space for a unique, holistic urban experience.
At Jiashan Market, we also look forward toward a more sustainable, eco-friendly future as Shanghai takes center stage in spotlighting green innovation and urban best practices at Expo Shanghai 2010.