Finding green spaces and non-paved surfaces in Shanghai is a challenge. I live across the river (Pudong, East of the Pu river) from the old city (Puxi ,West…) and even there, in what was fields among villages only a bit more than two decades ago, one needs to explore to find optimal routes.
And above all, one needs to start looking at one’s environment with different eyes. There might not be much unpaved track, trail, or road, but that doesn’t mean one cannot leave pavement…
To show what is possible, have a look at this 30+k route that is a mix of:
- river-lining cycle paths, with plenty of possibility to get off pavement onto grass (approx. 27%, of which approx. 13% off pavement)
- shaded sidewalks (approx. 22.5%)
- Century park paved paths and trails (approx. 21% of which approx. 12.5% on trails)
- rough trails (approx. 6.5%)
- migrant village and gated community roads (approx 6.5%)
- Jangziabang river-lining road (approx. 4.5%)
- road-lining grass patches (approx. 4.5%)
- concrete agricultural road (approx. 4.5%)
- a couple of connecting bits (approx. 4.5%)
(Note: % are rounded so don’t add up to 100%)
Overall, that’s more than one-third or 10+k off pavement. Near all of this route is in a green environment, a third next to water, lots (60%) traffic-free, and most of the rest with only light traffic. I would expect that the only other way to get off pavement for this number of kilometers, within the city proper, is to stay within the confines of a larger park (like Century park; other options would be Gongqing forest park, and Shanghai botanical garden) and repeat one off pavement optimized route several times. But I would love to hear I’m wrong!
As this is about urban running, let’s finish with some ear candy curated by an urban thinker I admire, Teju Cole (look here other posts spiced up by this guy’s work). Yes, not Shanghai, but running Shanghai pavement and trails while listening to this soundtrack is fun. Make sure to read what Teju has said about this selection.