Colorful ‘pocket parks’ offer shaded respite from the scorching heat
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE
It’s hot in Shanghai!
Since the city entered summer on May 30, it has reported 18 days with the mercury soaring above 35 degrees Celsius. The temperature hit 37 degrees for eight of those days, weather authorities said last Thursday. And there is no respite expected from these scorching days in the near future.
But people have their own ways of relaxing.
A fountain outside the Jing’an Kerry Center has become a popular destination for children.
Wearing bathing suits and goggles, carrying buckets and squirt guns, they really enjoy themselves, as if they were in a Maldivian beach paradise. What’s better, it’s totally free!
The “pocket parks” dotted around every corner of Jing’an provide another free option to hide from the scorching heat.
As the name suggests, “pocket parks” are mini-parks tucked away on street corners, usually designed to include existing greenery.
The tree canopy provides natural shade from the sun, casting shadows and cooling the air. The kaleidoscope of bright colors and delicate floral arrangements on offer are a wonderful antidote to a restless mood.
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE
In Jing’an, each “pocket park” is unique, like the one at the intersection of Weihai Road and Shaanxi Road N., just opposite the Shanghai Daily offices.
It features white and gray concrete flowerbeds, benches and hallways in an almost Nordic design based on minimalism and simplicity but with an elegant twist.
Ornamental grasses and vibrant clusters of blue and purple flowers are planted to create a “blue” garden.
As night falls, reed-like LED lights hidden among grasses and twigs light up to blend in with the silvery moonlight, enveloping the park in a soft, tender ambiance.
A “pocket garden” of aesthetic beauty reigns at the corner of Nanjing Road W and Shimen No.1 Road.
Surrounded by vertical green walls rising 5.5 meters, it looks like a courtyard nestled in the concrete jungle.
The walls are covered in the vibrant colors of red geraniums, pink begonias, white baby’s breath, and hardy blue-flowered baby’s breath. The flowers are arranged to blend with patterns on the facades of nearby historic buildings.
The dark gray volcanic rock floor is accented with red leaf maples, Japanese cutleaf maples and red plum trees.
A pink muhly grass carpet goes perfectly with the lavender colored perforated aluminum panels erected as decoration. They are a nod to Italian painting master Giorgio Morandi, renowned for his soft colors and quiet simplicity.
A music-themed “pocket park” at the corner of Jiaozhou and Anyuan roads has its own name: Garden of Nature Sound.
True to its name, written notes on the music staff are incorporated into the design of the walking paths and park benches. In addition, an interactive installation made up of giant loudspeakers emits sounds similar to the chirping of birds, the sound of bells and the flow of water.
Coolness for unsung heroes
While most of us stay cool in air-conditioned rooms or rest in the shade, outdoor workers spend endless hours in the scorching sun to keep the city running smoothly. For nucleic acid testing personnel, it’s really difficult.
Employers, authorities and sub-districts have stepped up their efforts to bring a touch of freshness.
In Shibei Hi-tech Park, there is a service station for outdoor workers like street cleaners, package and food delivery people, truck and taxi drivers, police officers from traffic, nucleic acid testing staff and volunteers.
The gas station offers free iced drinks, sunscreen sleeves and Liushen (Six God) brand floral water, a must-have for Shanghainese in the summer. It contains several kinds of traditional herbal ingredients that can bring coolness and soothe insect bites.
A delivery man, who did not reveal his name, rushed to the gas station to rest and gobbled down a bottle of ice-cold salty soda water after delivering nine packages in an hour.
“I’m dying of thirst and melting from the heat,” he says. “This place is so awesome. I get free drinks and felt refreshed,” he said.
Although the mercury reached 40 degrees Celsius, nurse Zheng Jun was still wrapped in a thick protective suit as she carried out nucleic acid tests in the W Subdistrict area of Zhijiang Road.
Zheng admitted that she and her colleagues suffered from severe heatstroke. After work, sweat was pouring off her, literally. “I pour sweat into my gloves and shoe covers,” she said.
Fortunately, in recent days, the sub-district prepared giant ice cubes and misting fans to cool the surroundings. “I feel a lot better now,” she said, adding that she was very moved by the people in the neighborhood who often came to say thank you.