Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) Plaza in Shanghai.

Type: Mixed use
Uses: Office, retail, residential, park, sports and recreation, education, open space
Developer: Shui On Land
Designers: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP; Palmer & Turner; Atkins; Charpentier Architecture Design; Terry Farrell & Partners; Tongji Design Institute; BWSS; Gensler; Tianhua; Leigh & Orange; Hassell; 3XN; AECOM; EMBT
Size: 121 acres (49 ha)
Date acquired: March 2004
Date started: November 2004
Date opened: October 2006 (phase I)

Land uses:

  • Buildings: 497,323 square feet (151,584 sq m)
  • Street/parking: 487,726 square feet (148,659 sq m)
  • Open space: 441,444 square feet (134,552 sq m)
  • Total: 1,598,681 square feet (487,278 sq m)

The Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) is a live/work/play/learn neighborhood developed in Shanghai’s Yangpu district. Before KIC, the district was a dilapidated industrial district with a historic stadium.

KIC turned the district into a thriving knowledge-based economy at the confluence of the tech industry, universities, residences, and retail space. KIC has been flourishing for years, attracting more than 1 million visitors and spurring growth and investment in the entire district through innovative long-term management and tenant curation.

As part of its long-term growth strategy, KIC hosts gatherings year-round for residents and visitors, including events focused on early childhood education, a healthy lifestyle and sustainability, and entrepreneurship. In addition to teaching others about sustainability, the development has strived for sustainability through Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) or Chinese Green Building Design certification for all its buildings, as well as achieving LEED Gold for Neighborhood Design.

Innospace, an incubator program based at KIC, has fostered over 400 new companies since 2012, eight of which have gone on to be startups with valuations exceeding 100 million RMB. The development has succeeded in meshing neighborhood, universities, and industry, since it has one of China’s popular retail corridors, several universities, and over 50 knowledge-based multinational corporations, as well as over 600 small businesses and startups.

KIC’s success has brought it global recognition as an example of a thriving mixed-use and knowledge-based community. It was the focus of a ULI case study in 2015.

Families enjoy a sunken plaza at KIC on weekends. (©Shui On Land)

This article is one of 11 highlighting this year’s winners of the ULI Global Awards for Excellence.