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Witnessing and living through a transformation

Updated: 2022-01-07 09:47 ( China Daily )
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Almost 12 years ago, when I was a college student, I worked as a volunteer at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai where I provide assistance for journalists from around the world covering the major event themed on "Better City, Better Life".

I still remember traveling with them during trips to different parts of the city to learn how technology, urban design and green practices had improved the lives of the city's residents.

Last month, I revisited the former expo site, but this time as a journalist reporting on the partial opening of the Shanghai Expo Culture Park. My 2-year-old daughter also thoroughly enjoyed herself playing on the vast lawns, among the beautiful tulips and in the renovated pavilions and the traditional garden.

As a journalist, I have been covering the development of Shanghai over the past five years. My career has allowed me to see new parks, running trails, art and sports venues emerge in the city.

In 2017, Shanghai started building a scenic riverfront along the Huangpu River. Just two years later, the paths along the Suzhou Creek were transformed into a stunning leisure space for residents.

Today, people jog, dance, play the saxophone and walk pets along the river as I stroll down the same path with my toddler who is learning to walk. She often waves to the people passing by, the adorable dogs and the birdwatchers who are there to catch a glimpse of the flocks coming to the area because of the improved natural environment.

Shanghai's Chongming Island held a successful flower expo last year, and the district government says that the island will continue on its path of ecological development, reducing the presence of factories and increasing nature coverage. The municipal government has also announced an ambitious plan to build 1,000 parks by 2025. These are just some of the many "hardware" additions to the metropolis.

The "software" upgrades have impressed me, too. For example, the implementation of the citywide trash-sorting program in 2019, the quick and precise response to any COVID-19 outbreak, the visa policy for foreign entrepreneurs looking to establish startups, and the efforts to integrate businesses from the Yangtze River Delta region have been progressive and heartening. I believe such measures have made locals feel safer and newcomers feel more welcome.

The city has indeed become better, and so has life.

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