Public parks are oases of calm in modern Shanghai. Open, healing, and free for all, they are where people retreat to after a hard day’s work, an argument, or a breakup. They provide the space to calm the body and mind, escape the bustle of the city, and be in the moment — even if it’s just for a few minutes.
After Shanghai emerged from a two-month lockdown earlier this year, the city’s public parks were where people rushed back to, for fresh air, freedom, and human connection.
In this short three-part documentary, Sixth Tone captures the daily rhythm of life in Shanghai’s parks through three stories: a deaf community gathering every Wednesday morning at Lu Xun Park; young office workers who come to feed the stray cats in Jing’an Park during their lunch breaks; and an art professor who reads out romantic poetry at People’s Park, his local “marriage market,” on weekend afternoons.
Special thanks: Bian Haifang and the deaf community at Lu Xun Park; Silvia, Chen, office workers, and the stray cat community at Jing’an Park; Cao Zaifei and the parent community at the People’s Park “marriage market.”