For most city dwellers looking for a refreshing bike ride, the busy streets snaking through high-rises are probably their best or only option－but that's not the case for residents in Chengdu.
The capital city of Southwest China's Sichuan province takes great pride in its Tianfu Greenway, a paved trail with a planned length of 16,900 kilometers lined with vegetation and separated from the traffic.
A Pakistani student surnamed Usman, who is studying at Chengdu-based Sichuan University, goes for a bike ride every week on the Tianfu Greenway.
"Cycling on the greenway is an entirely different experience from cycling on the road," Usman said."There are no other vehicles on the trail, which makes it a lot safer and gives me more freedom, and I'm treated to amazing views along the way."
The Tianfu Greenway project is part of a larger campaign launched by Chengdu to turn itself into a park city. The still-expanding trail will eventually connect nature reserves, parks, gardens and green spaces on 14,000 square kilometers of land across Chengdu, according to the local government.
The Tianfu Greenway is more than a track, said local officials. It "shoulders a greater mission", which is to become a space where people can read, shop, participate in activities and feel greater happiness.
This is aided by the growing popularity of the tourist attractions that dot the Tianfu Greenway.
Longquan Mountain Urban Forest Park, which lies along the greenway, welcomed a large number of local tourists during the National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival holidays on Oct 1-8, said the local government.
"This place is so beautiful, especially the Eye of the City, which is nothing less than a work of art," said Li Shuang, a Chengdu resident visiting the park.
The Eye of the City is the nickname of Danjing Terrace in the park, which has become a highly sought-after travel destination after gaining popularity on social media.
It earned the nickname because it looks like a human eye when viewed from above, overlooking Chengdu at an altitude of 700 meters.
Looking eastward atop the Eye of the City, one can see landmarks such as Tianfu International Airport, Tianfu Olympic City and Sancha Lake.
Jiangjia Art Park is another popular tourist attraction along the Tianfu Greenway. On what was an expanse of farmland, tourist facilities such as a children's playground and a caravan site have been built.
During the National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival holidays, Jiangjia Art Park hosted a windmill festival themed "Tianfu Greenway, Colorful Chengdu". The windmills and balloons dancing in the wind were captured by numerous cameras.
In addition to the windmill festival, the Tianfu Greenway served during the eight-day vacation as the venue for dozens of events including a performing arts season, a lifestyle show and a social media influencers' event.
Tianfu Feiteng Town in Xindu district of Chengdu is reinventing urban leisure life by combining "hotpot, music and greenway", and has become a hit on social media platforms such as Douyin, said the local government.
Jiangtan Park, located in the Chengdu high-tech zone, has been transformed from a riverside green space into the largest waterfront event venue in the city.
The Jinjiang Night Tour, offered by Chengdu Culture and Tourism Group, is delivering a fresh boost to Chengdu's after-dark economy.
The Tianfu Greenway is shaping up to become a trendsetter for consumers and a growth driver that contributes to the transformation of the city's development model, according to local officials.
Leveraging the Tianfu Greenway, Chengdu has been expediting its efforts to develop industries such as rural tourism, creative agriculture, sports and culture.
Official statistics show that Chengdu has built more than 2,500 cultural, tourism and sports facilities along the Tianfu Greenway.
These facilities have been forged into 68 brands including the Jinjiang Night Tour and the Jiangjia Art Park.
The approach of developing a park city is to promote sustainable development by transforming natural resources in a creative way. And this is what sets a park city apart from conventional cities, according to local officials.
The Tianfu Greenway is demonstrating increasing value and is set to open up new vistas for city life. It will continue to drive changes in urban development, lifestyle and governance to satisfy people's pursuit of a better life, said the local government.
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