AN EXCITING NEW Shui On Land development is set to transform and complement the academic flavour of Shanghai's Yangpu district with the opening of the Knowledge & Innovation Community (KIC). Located in the northeastern corner of Shanghai, the district is famous in the country as a centre of learning, with 14 universities and colleges in addition to more than 100 educational institutions. The Fudan and Tongji universities are internationally famous. Hui Shing-sui, Shui On Land's director of projects, said it was this atmosphere of knowledge and innovation that had attracted the property development giant to the area to create what he called a 'college town' environment, where work and living were closely linked. 'This is a new concept for Shanghai, where they are trying to promote innovation, science and technology inside our whole development,' said Mr Hui, a Hong Kong native. 'Our project is next to Fudan [University], and we have worked very closely with them. 'The people of this town are educated and civilised. What we have brought them is a new concept of living that combines the working environment and the living environment in a fun and healthy way.' An innovation hub lies at the centre of the 84-hectare development, which is next to the Jiangwan Stadium, a historic 40,000-seat structure built in 1935 to host the China National Games. The stadium has been renovated as part of the development and is an integral part of the KIC environment. Phase I of the hub is built around a sunken plaza designed to promote interaction and a sense of community among the residents. It features four blocks of low-density buildings. The target residents are software development companies and multimedia outfits, among others. 'We also want to promote arts and culture. We are thinking of bringing in a design institute, an arts school and a performance school,' Mr Hui said. 'Technology is important, but we also need culture. We want to be a breeding ground for young people with new ideas, a multifunctional community where people live, study, work and relax.' Software giant Oracle China will play a prominent role in KIC. The company signed a memorandum of understanding with Shui On in October to help pave the way for Yangpu district to become a 'digitised' community. Oracle will establish its Advance Technology Solution Centre at KIC, its first research and development centre in Shanghai. All its latest digital technologies will be tested and implemented in KIC. Shui On has also introduced the concept of loft living to Shanghai. Just across the street from the hub and connected by to it by a tunnel is phase I of Soho, the first of four phases. The 673 Soho units will be ready by year's end. The apartments are vertical in design and come in different floor plans. 'What we want is for people to open their small companies here,' Mr Hui said. 'This is not a family-type place. It is more for young people who want to work in an environment that is 24 hours. They can go downstairs and grab a coffee and then go back to work. It is work hard and play hard, all in one location.'