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World's 'Best' Cities to Exhibit at Shanghai Expo
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Representatives from some 30 cities from Chinese mainland and overseas will be invited to present their achievements in urban development at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, its organizers said recently.

In keeping with the event's city theme, a 100,000-square- meter "Urban Best Practice Area" will be set aside for the displays. This will consist of a central square with exhibits detailing the global challenges facing most cities, plus four rows of pavilions in which the representatives will be able to present the methods and techniques they have employed. The pavilions will also feature a multi-functional "simulated community", said the organizers.

The idea to have the Urban Best Practice Area was very much inspired by the expo's main theme, "Better City, Better Life," said Zhou Hanmin, deputy director of the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination. It is expected to be one of the event's main attractions.

The 2010 expo will be the first to introduce the concept of the "holistic" city, and Shanghai is preparing to present a master plan of its own city perspective, detailing historic and futuristic, domestic and international elements.

"The Urban Best Practice Area will focus on introducing the successful experiences, in terms of sustainable urban development, of cities from around the world. It will be a huge exhibition of innovative ideas, technologies and projects, all of which have been successfully utilized in the development of the cities on display," Zhou said.

For example, cities that have employed advanced energy-saving techniques and technologies will be invited to present their achievements at the expo, he said.

Zhou said that his organizing committee would compile a preliminary list of cities it would like to attend the event. This will then be passed to an international selection committee, which comprises a number of organizations, such as the UN-Habitat and various departments of the Chinese government. Once the list is finalized, the organizers will contact the selected cities and invite them to participate.

"A few cities outside Chinese mainland have already contacted us to express their interest in the Urban Best Practice project. At previous World Expos, the majority of the participants were countries and international organizations, but this time we will welcome more cities to the event," Zhou said.

The Urban Best Practice Area will be located in Puxi, close to the Theme Pavilions. According to Tang Shifang, a senior manager with Shanghai World Expo Land Holding Corporation, a special "world map" will also be displayed in the city-themed square at a special urban zone.

"By standing on the world map, visitors will be able to see what kind of environmental and ecological problems are threatening the regions beneath their feet," Tang said.

Most of the pavilions to be used to exhibit the cities' achievements will be built from the former factory workshops, which stand on the expo site. The simulated community will comprise three areas - residential, office space and leisure facilities - and will cover several blocks, he said.

"It will epitomize the perfect city and be a place where our invited guests can show off their successful urban practices and accomplishments," said Tang.

(China Daily March 22, 2007)

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