Shanghai Expo to counter China's "hasty planning decisions"

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The Independent Online

According to Asia expert Philippe Le Corre, China sees the upcoming World Expo in Shanghai as an opportunity to show the world that it cares about sustainable and longterm urban planning.

Le Corre, who is in charge of the Expo's public relations at communications agency Publicis in Paris and just launched the dedicated blog Shanghai Expo Insights, told Relaxnews in a phone interview: "There have been mistakes in the past. [...] Development has been too fast, constructions have been too hasty. [...]

"Shanghai will be an example of how China can keep its traditions and be modern at the same time."

The Shanghai Expo, whose slogan is "Better City, Better Life," will feature a special focus on environmentally friendly building, with 55 international cities including Barcelona and Liverpool exhibiting their green 'best practices.'

"China will show that it can organize big events and that it cares about these issues," said Le Corre, who emphasized that not enough care had been taken in the past, and that he didn't support the "hastily built constructions" approved by the government in some Chinese cities, although he wouldn't name any names.

As positive examples of modern "statement" architecture in China, Le Corre mentioned Norman Foster's HSBC building and I.M. Pei's Bank of China, both located in Hong Kong, as well as the Beijing Opera House by Paul Andreu. One of his expected highlights for the upcoming Expo is the French Pavilion, designed by Jacques Ferrier, whose five corners will represent the five human senses.

Le Corre's Shanghai Expo Insights blog was launched on February 1 (with three months to go to the event's launch) in collaboration with a team of international editors and PRs based in Los Angeles, Paris, and Shanghai. It covers general news relating to the Expo and is open for comments, even though, as Le Corre pointed out, "we don't want any controversies."