Shanghai is the largest city by population of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the largest city proper in the world.It is one of the four province-level municipalities of the PRC, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010. Following rapid development over the last two decades it has become a global city, with influence in commerce, culture, finance, media, fashion, technology and transport. It is a major financial center and the busiest container port in the world.
Shanghai’s parks offer some reprieve from the urban jungle. Due to the scarcity of play space for children, nearly all parks have a children’s section. The former racetrack turned central park, People’s Square park is located in the heart of down town Shanghai and is known for its proximity to other major Shanghai landmarks. Fuxing Park, in the former French Concession of Shanghai, features formal French-style gardens and is surrounded by high end bars and cafes. Zhongshan Park in northwestern central Shanghai is famous for its monument of Chopin, the tallest statue dedicated to the composer in the world. Built in 1914 as Jessfield Park, it once contained the campus of St. John’s University, Shanghai’s first international college; today, it is known for its extensive rose and peony gardens, a large children’s play area, and as the location of an important transfer station on the city’s metro system. One of the newest is in the Xujiahui area – Xujiahui Park, built in 1999 on the former grounds of the Great Chinese Rubber Works Factory and the EMI Recording Studio (now La Villa Rouge restaurant). The park has a man-made lake with a sky bridge running across the park, and offers a pleasant respite for Xujiahui shoppers.
The Shanghai Disney Resort Project was approved by the government on 4 November 2009. It is currently under construction. The resort is planned to be operational by 2016. A $4.4 billion theme park and resort in Pudong will have a castle that will be the biggest among Disney’s resorts.
Shanghai has a rich collection of buildings and structures of various architectural styles. The Bund, located by the bank of the Huangpu River, contains a rich collection of early 20th-century architecture, ranging in style from neoclassical HSBC Building to the art deco Sassoon House. A number of areas in the former foreign concessions are also well-preserved, the most notable ones being the French Concession. Shanghai has one of the worlds largest number of Art Deco buildings as a result of the construction boom during the 1920s and 1930s. One of the most famous architects working in Shanghai wasLászló Hudec, an Hungarian-Slovak architect who lived in the city between 1918–1947. Some of his most notable Art Deco buildings include the Park Hoteland the Grand Theater. Other prominent architects who contributed to the Art Deco style are Parker & Palmer, who designed the Peace Hotel, Metropole Hotel, and the Broadway Mansions, and Austrian architect GH Gonda who designed the Capital Theatre. The Bunds first revitalization started in 1986 with a new promenade by the Architect Snoeren, the completion was in the mid-1990s.