60 People, 60 Stories

Urban answer

By Wang Zhenghua (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-09-30 10:53

Urban answer
Shanghai World Expo coordination bureau director general Hong Hao says next year's event will help the city as well as other countries explore ways of tackling the urban challenges of the day. [China Daily] 

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More than 500 new Chinese cities have been built since the founding of New China in 1949.

The country's urban population alone is expected to account for 47 percent of its total 1.3 billion population this year, up from 14 percent in the 1950s.

Urban answer

As such, the Shanghai 2010 Expo aims in part to offer a solution to that looming urban explosion.

"The exploration into the Expo's theme of 'Better City, Better Life' will help people know more about the trend of urban development. During the Expo, effective experiences will be shared on how to achieve scientific and green development," says Hong Hao, director general of Shanghai World Expo coordination bureau.

The World's Fair seeks solutions for urban problems like air pollution, traffic congestion and limited living spaces, in a country that is undergoing rapid urbanization.

The fair, to be held between May and October next year, will also enhance the government's role in serving the public, Hong says.

The 28-billion-yuan show is widely seen as the rebranding of Shanghai into a regional services center that is backed by an abundance of world-class infrastructural facilities and plentiful supply of talented professionals from home and abroad.

The Expo will also mark the successful transformation of Shanghai from a colorless manufacturing base of the planned economy to a high-value-added engine of growth, as the nation marches from the road of reform and opening up.

In the early years of economic reform, the city was largely overshadowed by the boomtowns in the Pearl River Delta with Shenzhen as the center of modernization and industrialization.

Urban answer

But in the past decades, Shanghai has been quickly catching up by embarking on a relentless pursuit of its destiny as the business hub that services the industrial powerhouse of the mighty Yangtze River Delta region and beyond.

As a symbol of its destiny, the 2010 Expo is dear to the heart of most Shanghai people. Their dedication to this memorable event for locals and visitors has been most evident in the extensive reconstruction that has turned this city of 18 million permanent residents into a building site. Elevated expressways are being built to channel above-ground traffic and huge efforts are underway to expand the subway system.

By the time the Expo opens next May, Shanghai will have two new airport terminals, a subway system that is nearly as large as New York's and a $700-million promenade in its historic riverfront district. Parks, roads and bridges have also been opening.

"In addition to the improvement in infrastructure, the most influential impact of the Expo is the garden offering the world an opportunity to examine Shanghai and a chance for Shanghai people to learn about the world," Hong says.


Time line


Qing Dynasty merchant Xu Rongcun contributes to the first World's Fair in Britain with a dozen packages of Chinese silk from his store.


The Qing imperial government sends an unprecedented group of official representatives to the World's Fair in Vienna.


New China participates in the World Expo for the first time in Knoxville, Tenn., in the United States.


China wins its bid to host the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.


Construction of the China Pavilion, the host country's landmark at the Shanghai Expo and one of the permanent structures, starts with a target completion date by year end.


The Shanghai World Expo is scheduled to be held between May 1 and Oct 31.


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