World Expo 2010: Exhibit the Whole World in Shanghai

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Chapter 6
World Expo 2010: Exhibit the Whole World in Shanghai

1. Name and Theme

2. Duration of the World Expo

3. Expo Logo, Mascot, and Other Symbols

The 2010 shanghai world expo will be a grand event to explore the urban life in the new century. The 21st century is an important period for urban development. It is estimated that by 2010, 55% of the world's population will live in cities. Therefore, the future city life is a global topic bearing on all nations regardless of their different development stages. As the first World Expo with City as its theme, the 184-day Shanghai World Expo will provide a platform for governments and people from various countries to showcase their fruits of urban civilization, and share experiences and advanced concepts on urban development. Thus, they will be able to explore a whole new pattern of human residence, life, and work for the new century through living examples on how to build an ecologically harmonious society based on sustainable development.

1. Name and Theme

Better City, Better Life is the theme of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. This theme is rooted in thousands of years of human civilization and the heritage of the World Expo over the past 155 years. It was determined against the background of increasing worldwide attention to the issues of urbanization: How to improve the city's role as a living place? How to harmonize the relationships between urban and rural areas, and between cities and nature? Shanghai is a fast-growing metropolis in the Asia-Pacific region. It is very lucky to have been granted the opportunity to host the first World Expo focused on city at the beginning of the new millennium.

According to the BIE Secretary-General Vincent Gonzales Loscertales, the World Expo is a grand event for the host country and also a perfect venue for extensive exchange of global knowledge on a particular theme. During the preparatory stage of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, the organizer will be committed to carrying out in-depth research, interpretation, and elaboration of the theme, and will, through an exhibition guide, brief the exhibitors on how to showcase their strengths. In addition, the organizer will elaborate the meanings of the theme through art performances and academic activities held in the China Exhibition Hall and the theme area. This way, the 2010 Shanghai World Expo will truly become a grand event in which the past, present, and future of the city will be presented through exhibitions, entertainment, and knowledge exchange. As this will be the first World Expo held in a developing country, the host has proposed from the beginning of its bid that developing countries should be encouraged to the greatest possible extent to participate. China will spare no effort to create a platform where developed and developing countries can conduct dialogue and exchange so that all participating countries will be able to benefit from one another's experiences and work together for a better urban life in the future.

1.1 Theme Interpretation and Background

Cities are the product of human civilization. Louis Mumford, a modern U.S. philosopher once said, “The city is a special type of structure. This structure is delicate and compact, and is for the purpose of passing on the achievements of human civilizations.” That the word “civilization” in many Western languages originated from the Latin word Civitas meaning “City” is not in any way coincidental. The all-embracing, diversified, and ever-changing nature of the city has contributed to the improvement in the order of human society.

In 1800, only 2% of the world's population lived in cities. By 1950, this had increased to 29%, and by 2000, approximately half of the world's population had moved into cities. According to the UN forecast, by 2010 the urban population will make up 55% of the total population in the world.

Undeniably, the rapid development of cities today has posed a series of challenges to urban residents: high density urban life results in space conflict, cultural friction, resource shortage, and environmental pollution. If there is no control enforced, the disorderly expansion of cities will exacerbate these problems, and eventually erode the vitality of the cities, affecting the quality of urban life.

The Istanbul Declaration on Human Settlements, issued in 1996 by the UN-HABITAT (United Nations Human Settlement Programme), highlighted that, “Our cities must become places where people can lead a dignified, healthy, safe and blissful life filled with beautiful hopes.” However, all challenges faced by cities, be it congestion, pollution, crime or conflicts, result from the lack of harmony in the various relationships in the process of urbanization, i.e., relationships between man and nature, between man and man, as well as between the mental and the material. Long-standing disharmony will inevitably lead to a discounted quality of urban life and even a downgrading of civilization.

In view of this, the 2010 Shanghai World Expo will respond to the appeal for Better City, Better Life with the concept of City of Harmony.

The concept of harmony has long been embedded in Chinese culture. Chinese culture upholds harmony in interpersonal relations, between man and nature, between the mental and the physical. In its description of the Great Harmony, the Book of Rites advocates: “A public spirit will rule all under the sky when the great way prevails. Men of great virtue and talent are elected who will cultivate mutual trust and promote universal understanding.” Chinese philosophers before the Qin dynasty also developed the concept of social harmony in their writings. At the same time, harmony was also the ideal of many Western thinkers. Pythagoras, an ancient Greek philosopher, proposed the theory of harmony which consisted in unity of opposites. Heraclitus, another philosopher of the same period, asserted: “The invisible harmony is better than the visible harmony.” In The Republic and The Laws Plato portrayed a beautiful state where “the whole society will achieve very harmonious development, and various classes will obtain the happiness endowed by nature.”

For hundreds of years, people have been exploring the pattern of City of Harmony. From Utopia to the 18th century Ideal City, and then the Garden City, a series of theories, propositions, and models have been advanced. All these are efforts to seek balance and harmony in space, in order, in spiritual life, and in material circulation.

In the 1980s, the concept of sustainable development was developed in response to the deterioration of environmental and developmental issues. Of the many strategies that municipal governments of different countries have adopted for the implementation of the “Agenda 21,” most are on ways to establish harmony between man and city, and between man and nature, and between present and future. It can therefore be argued that the pursuit of “harmonious life” and “City of Harmony” has continued throughout the history of mankind, and is becoming all the more prominent in the blueprints for future cities.

Fundamentally, the building of harmonious cities needs to be based on the harmony between man and nature, man and man, the mental and the material. Practically speaking, it will be seen in the peaceful coexistence of diverse cultures, the balanced development of urban economy, orderly living in the era of science and technology, the effortless operation of community cells, as well as the smooth interaction between urban and rural areas. The concept of City of Harmony will pose new challenges to and stimulate improvement in urban administration and planning.

In the first ten years of the 21st century, it is important to take into consideration two factors when exploring the concept of City of Harmony.

First, the relationship between economic globalization and urban development.

With the rapid development of science and technology in the fields of communication and transportation, the gradual lifting of trade barriers, as well as the accelerated flow of goods, technologies, services, personnel, capital, and information across national boundaries, geographical distance and separation have become increasingly insignificant. Most countries have become tightly intertwined in economic and social development so that a minor occurrence in a single country may escalate into a great impact on the rest of the world. Economic globalization has transformed the balance of power between cities and deconstructed their stable cultural, economic, and social structure. With economic globalization, it is essential to look at urban issues in the context of an open global economic system. International and inter-city exchange, dialogue, and cooperation have now become more important than ever.

Second, the different stages of urbanization for developed and developing countries.

Due to historical and geographical reasons, the starting point and speed of urbanization and the resulting problems and experiences vary from one country to another. Developed countries have entered an era of a high degree of urbanization, and the focus now is how to attract people back to the cities through industrial restructuring and improved environment and infrastructure. In contrast, developing countries, which started industrialization and modernization later, are still in the growing stage of urbanization, and they are facing challenges from rapid urbanization.

The human pursuit for a beautiful urban life will be further explored and expanded during the Shanghai World Expo. People of different races and languages, with different beliefs, and countries and cities at varying stages of development, will exhibit and explore the theme Better City, Better Life. This in itself will be an instance of the harmonious coexistence of a diversified world—Harmony in Diversity.

1.2 Interpretation of Sub-themes

There are five sub-themes for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, focusing on topics such as culture, economy, science and technology, community development, as well as the relationship between urban and rural areas.

The Shanghai Expo hopes to analyze and explore the concept of City of Harmony from the aforementioned five sub-themes. These sub-themes are independent yet correlated, and their interpretation should therefore not only involve history and background, but also consider their interconnection.

Integrating Diversified Urban Cultures

Cultural diversity, or heterogeneity, is one of the characteristics of cities. From the very beginning, cities were made up of all types of people. In the course of urban development, military, trade, and migration further promoted the collision and integration of diversified cultures, which evolved subsequently into the unique style of each city. On the one hand, this unique style is built upon the cultural background and creative industry of each city; on the other, it is an integration of the ways of life and value orientations of different social groups and classes within the city.

Today people of various countries pay more attention than ever to cultural freedom and identity. Globalization has brought multiple impacts on urban culture. For one thing, the Internet and global and regional brands enable the cultures of many cities to become more standardized. For another, the flow of information and people on a larger scale results in an unprecedented level of collision between strong and weak cultures, foreign and local cultures, migrant and mainstream cultures.

Cultural diversification also signifies harmony between history and the future. Cities are places where cultural heritage is preserved. Although the longing for economic development and modernization often threatens traditional cultures and material heritage, modern information communication and digital technology have enabled more people to pay attention to the destiny of material and non-material heritage.

An increasing number of urban administrators have realized that sustainable urban development requires a cultural strategy that takes into account history and the future, and promotes the harmonious coexistence of diversified cultures.

Urban Economic Prosperity

The cities originated from markets. The motive force for urban economic development was the agglomeration effect of cities. In the era of knowledge-based economy, innovation and entrepreneurship are becoming the major drivers of sustainable development in the urban economy. The innovative capacity of a city is based not only on its research strength, but also on the creative interaction between people. Entrepreneurship is related to the wealth of a city, but it is more rooted in a conducive cultural tradition. Whether a city has an excellent working and living environment, whether it has the ability to attract top talents, has a direct bearing on its economic prospects. In addition, sound infrastructure and comprehensive service industries are also necessary conditions for urban economic prosperity.

No doubt conflicts occur between urban economic development and the protection of environmental resources. It is therefore strategically important to seek sustainable development of cities through a circular economy. This model of economic development advocates a 3R principle, i.e., reducing resource consumption in production, reusing products, and recycling waste with the ultimate goal of harmonizing economic development and environmental protection.

All in all, the future urban economy will be full of vitality based on two major factors: the innovation and creativity of residents, and the harmonious coexistence of man and nature.

Urban Technological Innovation

Cities form a vast stage for scientific and technological innovation. Within each city, crucial elements for innovation are integrated; and innovative ideas often arise from vibrant communication and interaction. At the same time, the material facilities of a city can speed up the translation of innovative ideas into technologies, and then into products and services that benefit its people.

Since the 20th century, tremendous development in science and technology has made large-scale urbanization possible. At the same time, the abundance and enhancement of people's living conditions are clearly seen in cities. Despite the short history of human flying (100 years), man-made machines have left their footprints on Mars. People have benefited from science and technology in their daily lives, ways of communication, health and medical treatment, and wealth accumulation. This revolution has left deep imprints on the world's intellectual history.

Today, people are becoming more aware than ever of their own limitations as they look into outer space using the Hubble Space Telescope or reorganize life through genetic technology. Science and technology will no longer be tools for people to conquer nature. On the contrary, they will make it possible for man and nature to coexist.

In cities of the future, science and technology will play a major role in preserving non-renewable resources, intensively utilizing energy, protecting species diversity, and establishing a sustainable pattern of human habitation. Technology will lead people back to nature once again.

Remolding Urban Communities

Communities are the cells of cities, and the most common spatial pattern for city dwellers. Only healthy cells can create healthy and harmonious cities. Cultural integration and economic prosperity depend on communities.

The building and remolding of urban communities have long been the immediate tasks for city administrators. One lasting question in urban development is: How to take poverty-stricken communities away from the social map of cities? In the world today, the changing composition of urban residents in developed countries and the unprecedented growth of urban population in developing countries have made this task even more challenging. One of the goals proposed in the UN-HABITAT Millennium Declaration is to build “Cities without Slums.” Specifically, by 2020 one million poor urban residents around the world will see their standard of living improved significantly.

Under the goal of sustainable development, city remolding in the 21st century requires that “balanced communities” should be built. A balanced community must possess the following characteristics: reasonable resident composition, reasonable housing ownership, complete infrastructure, good housing environment, and adequate employment and entrepreneurship.

Communities in the future will be characterized by strong social cohesion and a harmony between the city matrix and other cells. Everything will be people-centered.

Interaction between Urban and Rural Areas

Since the birth of cities, urban and rural areas have been interdependent in the economic, societal, and environmental aspects. Rural residents make a living by selling produce to city dwellers, while the prosperity of cities, in turn, depends on the resources and demands of rural areas.

Urban expansion has brought about great pressure on non-renewable resources. However, this pressure can be eased with new concepts, buildings, and energy technologies in urban planning. At the same time, the large influx of rural population has created complex problems for urban administrators. On the one hand, the building and restructuring of urban communities will provide the urban population with a favorable living environment; on the other, the building of small cities and towns will effectively ease the population and employment pressure on big cities. Under the impact of globalization, some countries have lost their competitive advantages in agriculture. Favorable urban and rural interaction can help farmers seek other means of living, and restructure agricultural production for new competitiveness. It is important to coordinate the flow of personnel, capital, commodities, and information between urban and rural areas for a balanced development between them.

Presently, nearly half of the world's population lives in rural areas. In view of the striking differences between urban and rural areas in developing countries, some international organizations have appealed to various countries to bring into full play the complementary and interactive relations between rural and urban areas. While working hard to eliminate urban poverty, these countries should also tackle rural poverty and improve rural living conditions.

With the progress of urbanization, the boundary between urban and rural areas is no longer so obvious. In fact, the ties between urban and rural areas have become so close that one cannot do without the other. Harmonious cities of the future will be increasingly dependent on equally harmonious and livable rural areas.

1.3 Working around the Theme

Examination and Approval

The organizer will work closely with the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE) to establish certain criteria for assessing if a design plan conforms to the theme. These criteria will be used to examine the theme statements and exhibition items prepared by exhibitors.

Submission of Theme Statements

As part of the application for exhibition space, an exhibitor must submit a theme statement to the organizer, in which the exhibition theme and overall structure should be clearly specified. The statement should include references used for interpreting the theme and sub-themes. The exhibitor will not be allocated an exhibition space until after the organizer approves its statement.

After the organizer receives the theme statement of an exhibitor through the Commissioner-General of the Chinese Government for the Shanghai Expo, a duplicate copy must be provided to the BIE.

Submission of Exhibition Items

As part of the Preliminary Approval of Application, the exhibitor must submit a document titled Exhibition Items, giving a detailed description of its exhibition. Based on the Theme Statement, the document should present a detailed exhibition plan. The organizer will verify whether the exhibition contents comply with the approved Theme Statement, and whether the Exhibition Items conforms to the relevant requirements with regards to the theme.

In the event that the organizer does not approve the Exhibition Items, the organizer shall provide the exhibitor with detailed explanations, and offer suggestions as to how to modify the proposal. The organizer should inform, within a reasonable time frame, the exhibitor of the decision that the Exhibition Items has not been approved, so that the exhibitor will have sufficient time to revise the document. The organizer will continue to provide consulting services to the exhibitor.

Publishing Exhibition Contents

Exhibitors may need to modify the exhibition contents in line with the requirements of the organizer. In the event that the exhibition contents fail to comply with the theme interpretation, the organizer and the exhibitors will make all efforts to resolve their differences so as to arrive at a consensus.

Exhibitors should provide the organizer with a final introduction to their exhibitions at least 120 days prior to the opening date of the World Expo. The information will be included in the official exhibition directory.

2. Duration of the World Expo

2.1 Timeframe for the World Expo

The World Expo will be held for a duration of six months. The opening ceremony will be held on May 1, 2010, and the closing ceremony on October 31.

The year 2010 will mark the 32nd anniversary of China's reform and opening, as well as the 20th anniversary of the development and opening of Pudong in Shanghai. During the expo, a series of major celebrations will be held inside and outside the World Expo Park.

The Shanghai World Expo will begin on May 1, 2010. The date coincides with International Labor Day, and also the first day of the week-long May Day holiday in China. The opening ceremony will begin in the afternoon and continue late into the night. It will include song and dance performances, firework performances, and lighting performances. At night, lasers will project the Shanghai World Expo logo and traditional ceremonial fireworks will light up the sky, announcing to the world the opening of the Shanghai World Expo. The exhibition halls of various countries will also participate with performances reflecting their national cultures. The closing ceremony will be held on October 31, 2010, with a series of celebratory activities.

2.2 Major Holidays and Activities During the World Expo

The Shanghai World Expo will last six months so that more people, especially those from afar, will be able to visit the World Expo. During the expo, there will be two week-long holidays in China (in early May and early October). These long public holidays will bring more visitors to the World Expo. The summer holiday falls in July and August for Chinese students, and the World Expo will attract a large number of young visitors.

Many memorial days and local and international festivals will be celebrated during the World Expo. There will also be colorful folk activities. All these will enhance the festive atmosphere of the expo.

Table 6.1 A list of memorial days and traditional festivals during the Shanghai World Expo
Notes: Other local annual or bi-annual festivals include (specific months to be determined subsequently) Shanghai International Arts Festival, Shanghai International Film Festival, Shanghai International Tourist Festival, Shanghai International Tea Culture Festival, and Shanghai International Fashion Festival.
International Labor DayMay 1, 2010
Chinese Youth DayMay 4, 2010
World Red Cross DayMay 8, 2010
World Family DayMay 15, 2010
National Day of Disabled PersonsMay 16, 2010
World Telecommunications DayMay 17, 2010
International Museum DayMay 18, 2010
World No Tobacco DayMay 31, 2010
International Children's DayJune 1, 2010
World Environment DayJune 5, 2010
World Relics DayJune 10, 2010
Chinese Population DayJune 11, 2010
Chinese Dragon Boat FestivalJune 16, 2010 (the 5th day of the 5th lunar month)
Chinese Children's Day for Charitable ActivitiesJune 22, 2010
International Olympic DayJune 23, 2010
International Charter DayJune 26, 2010 (UN Charter Day)
International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit TraffickingJune 26, 2010
International Cooperative DayJuly 3, 2010
World Population DayJuly 11, 2010
International Youth DayAugust 12, 2010
Chinese Valentine's DayAugust 16, 2010 (the 7th day of the 7th lunar month)
World Clean-Up DaySeptember 14, 2010
International Peace DaySeptember 21, 2010
Chinese Mid-Autumn FestivalSeptember 22, 2010 (the 15th day of the 8th lunar month)
World Tourism DaySeptember 27, 2010
Confucius' BirthdaySeptember 28, 2010 (the 21st day of the 8th lunar month)
Chinese National DayOctober 1, 2010
World Habitat DayOctober 4, 2010
World Animal DayOctober 4, 2010
World Post DayOctober 9, 2010
World Mental Health DayOctober 10, 2010
World Standards DayOctober 14, 2010
UN DayOctober 24, 2010

3. Expo Logo, Mascot, and Other Symbols

3.1 Soliciting and Announcement of the World Expo Logo

On December 3, 2003, the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination announced the solicitation of World Expo Logo designs from home and abroad. The bureau collected more than 8,000 designs from around the world. The organizer convened the Shanghai World Expo Logo Design Symposium on April 10, 2004. Participants included internationally renowned designers such as Finnish designer Kari Pippo, designer of the emblem of Hanover World Expo 2000, Michael Ges, Japanese designer Shigeo Fukuda, and Vice Chairman of the International Council of Graphic Design (ICOGRADA) Han Bin.

Zhou Yupeng, Deputy Mayor of Shanghai cum Director of the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination, proposed that the design of the logo “should not only be rich in meaning, it should also reflect the spirit of ‘understanding, communication, joyful gathering, and cooperation’ of the World Expo. At the same time, it should express the theme of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo—Better City, Better Life—and the internationalized characteristics of cultural exchange between East and West. We look forward to seeing a logo masterpiece which embodies Chinese culture and at the same time reflects the recent reform and opening up, as well as the vitality in economic development.” The logo assessment and selection was conducted strictly in accordance with the principles of “justice, fairness, and openness.”

The assessment committee consisted of members recommended by professional institutions and departments, such as the Chinese Artists Association, the Design Committee of China Packing Association, Shanghai Artists Association, and the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee. After verifying the data provided by relevant institutions, colleges, and universities, as well as going through a few rounds of selection, 40 experts from within China and from overseas were short listed. Eventually, a review committee made up of 15 members was formed. The name list was then submitted to the Organizing Committee for approval. These experts included senior graphic designers, artists, historians, and advertising executives. They were all required to keep the assessment and selection process confidential. The assessment and selection was carried out under the effective supervision of the Shanghai Municipal Notarial Office. Of the 8,000 contributions, more than 1,000 were selected in the preliminary round.

On the night of November 29, 2004, the Announcement Ceremony for the Shanghai World Expo 2010 Logo was held in Shanghai. Member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the CPC, Vice Premier of the State Council, and Director of the World Expo Organizing Committee, Wu Yi pressed a crystal ball and the winning logo was announced to the public.

The Shanghai World Expo Logo was designed by Shao Hongkang, an advertising designer from Yancheng, Jiangsu Province. He interpreted the logo thus: it is shaped like a happy family of three; it symbolizes humanity as a whole including “you, he, and I”; it gives expression to the concept of the World Expo: understanding, communication, joyful gathering, and cooperation; and it brims with China's national spirit of harmony and unity, reflecting the people-centered goals of the Shanghai World Expo 2010. The logo is similar in shape to the Chinese character (Shi), and is skillfully integrated with the number 2010, expressing the strong desire of the people of China to host a global expo that unifies diverse cultures. Green is the logo's primary color, which signifies vitality, optimism, and dynamism, and reflects China's pursuit of a promising future of sustainable development.

Interestingly, the calligraphy of the Chinese character in the logo forms a perfect match to the seal cutting of the character (Jing) in the logo of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, implying the unremitting effort of Chinese people to carry forward their traditional culture when China is integrating itself into the world.

3.2 Soliciting Designs for the Mascot and Others

One important part of the World Expo preparation was to invite entries from around the world for the World Expo slogan, song, poster, show bill, mascot, and flag. The solicitation began in December 2003.

The search for the World Expo song will last five years, ending in December 2008. In each of these five years, the music and lyrics of ten songs will be chosen. From those only one will be selected as the best song of the year. Altogether 50 songs will be selected, and only five will go through as the best songs of the year to the next stage. Musicians and the public will choose one of them as the theme song for the Shanghai World Expo. To ensure openness and fairness of the selection, the assessment and selection will be notarized by the Shanghai Municipal Notarial Office.

In 2004, the World Expo Office for Song Collection received 331 lyric entries and 99 music entries from China and overseas. On May 7, 2005, the Best Works of the Year 2004 for the Shanghai Expo 2010 was announced. “My 2010” won the honor as the 2004 Best Song. The Shanghai World Expo Song will finally be unveiled in 2008.

In May 2006, an international poster design contest was launched and the result was revealed in October 2006. A poster exhibition will be held in January 2007.

Mascot solicitation and selection will begin in 2007.

The 2010 World Expo will be a grand global event that can attract the largest number of visitors. It does not concern Shanghai and China alone; it will also involve the whole world. Shanghai will put up a vast stage to exhibit the world in 2010.

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World Expo 2010: Exhibit the Whole World in Shanghai