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Shanghai Expo's highlighted project under construction
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Construction on the Urban Best Practices Area, one of the anticipated highlights of World Expo Shanghai 2010, began yesterday.

The area, in the Puxi part of the Expo site, will showcase successful examples and experiences of selected cities under numerous themes, including livable cities, sustainable urban development, protection of historic relics and technological innovations in the environmental field.

A total of 108 proposals from 80 cities worldwide are competing to enter the final list of 30 to 50 exhibits.

The International Selection Committee of the UBPA is currently meeting in Shanghai to decide the final winners.

International organizations such as UNESCO and the World Bank have also recommended 118 cases to the committee.

The nine-month international search for the proposals ended on January 31 and the results are expected to be unveiled soon.

UBPA, covering 15.08 hectares, is the brainchild of the Shanghai Expo organizers.

The innovative project will offer a stage for cities around the world to showcase their best practises and experiences in solving urbanization issues.

A pavilion renovated from the century-old Nanshi Power Plant will hold exhibitions entitled "Exploration of Future Cities" and will have a theme square that incorporates urban innovation.

A 165-meter chimney, built in 1985 at the Nanshi Power Plant, will be transformed into a 201-meter-tall Expo Harmony Tower.

Real scenes of residential communities will be unfolded at the northern part of the area to showcase innovative urban construction achievements.

The UBPA would be both an exhibition area and an exhibit itself, said Zhou Hanmin, deputy director general of the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination.

Shanghai's Vice Mayor Yang Xiong, full-time Deputy Director of the World Expo 2010 Shanghai Executive Committee Zhong Yanqun and Secretary General of the International Expositions Bureau Vicente Loscertales attended a ground-breaking ceremony yesterday morning to mark the occasion.

(Shanghai Daily, March 21, 2008)

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