I couldn't resist making a few animations illustrating the gradual wipe-out of the old town. I centered the map on Yuyuan Garden, but in the process it became evident that the periphery has undergone an even more devastating change, namely, the insane widening of the traffic channels. Henan Road (along the left border of the image) and Renmin Lu (upper border) have doubled – if not tripled – in width since the year 2000.
Among many reasons why the redevelopment of the old town is bad is a historic one: the northern third of the former walled city is the only area that was not bombed by the Japanese in 1937. Everything between Fangbang Lu and Renmin Lu was a safety zone for civilians between 1937 and 1941. The Jacquinot Zone saved lives of around 300,000 refugees – but also preserved blocks after blocks of pre-war housing and street networks. It remains the only area where you can encounter uninterrupted original urban fabric of 'old Shanghai' – that is, what has not been wiped out yet to build shopping malls, roads and parking lots for the self-perpetuating cancerous growth known as 'Shanghai Old Street'.