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55 urban projects to feature in Shanghai Expo
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World Expo Shanghai has chosen up to 55 projects - almost twice the expected number - to exhibit in the Urban Best Practices Area of the Expo site, organizers announced yesterday.

A local green building project, called "Eco-house in Shanghai," is among them. The building, now located in city's southwest Xinzhuang area of Minhang District, will be rebuilt in the Expo site to demonstrate the energy efficiency concept.

Among the 55 chosen projects, six are from Chinese mainland cities - Shanghai, Tianjin, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Suzhou. Other Chinese proposals come from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

With a site sized more than 15 hectares, the Urban Best Practices Area offers a stage for cities around the world to propose their solutions to urban issues from different perspectives.

Originally, Expo organizers planned to choose some 30 examples for the exhibition. Due to the overwhelming number of proposals from around the world, the organizers not only expanded the possible number of projects to be displayed, but they also postponed the deadline for cities to make submissions to January 31 this year.

In the end, the international selection committee of UBPA received 113 projects, among which 106 proposals from 87 cities were valid, said Zhou Hanmin, deputy director general of the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination.

Although the first period of selection is now over, the 51 cities that missed out can still apply to exhibit for a short period of one to 10 days during Expo.

Zhou said some projects, such as public policies, are difficult to display in a physical way. Other means of display, such as forums or multi-media presentations, may be more suitable for them.

Also yesterday, the African nation of Gabon signed a deal with Shanghai Expo organizers, becoming the 17th country to enter into a participation contract among 198 attendees.

Gabon will take its place in the 31,000-square-meter joint African pavilion, where more than 40 countries from that continent will exhibit.

(Shanghai Daily April 3, 2008)

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