The municipality of Shanghai is roughly bisected by the Huangpu River. Puxi, on the west side, is the historic centre of the city. Puxi covers the districts of Yangpu, Hongkou, Zhabei, Putuo, Changning, Xuhui, Jing’an and Huangpu. Pudong covers the area on the east side of the Huangpu River and is the centerpiece of Shanghai’s rapid new economic development, including Shanghai’s famous skyline and the Manhattan-like Lujiazui financial district.
The outer districts, or suburbs, that surround the city proper are Baoshan, Fengxian, Minhang, Jiading, Jinshan, Songjiang, Qingpu, Nanhui and the quickly developing rural areas in eastern Pudong. Shanghai’s only county, Chongming, is in the far north of the municipality and consists of the islands of Changxing, Chongming and Hengxia.
Most of the older architecture, including the Former French Concession, the Bund and the Old Town, is located in the districts along the west side of the Huangpu River. As you travel east from the Huangpu into Pudong, the cityscape is dominated by newer apartment towers, malls and wider boulevards. The western tip of Pudong contains the Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone, which is the financial hub of China and home to the iconic Oriental Pearl Tower, which was erected to draw attention to Pudong New Area.
To say that urban sprawl has occurred is Shanghai is an understatement; it continues to expand, as people are relocated to the outer edge of the city to make way for development of the city centre.
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