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June 30, 2010

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Idea for Expo site afterlife: Put consulates there

AS Wu Zhiqiang, the chief planner of the Shanghai World Expo, sees it, the Expo village in the northeast corner of the Expo site would make a great new home for the city's foreign consulates.

Ideally, Wu said yesterday, about 100 foreign consulates could be moved to the site in the Pudong New Area over the next 20 years.

It's just one of the ways that existing Expo pavilions or structures can serve different functions once the Expo ends on October 31, Wu said.

"Actually we drafted the post-Expo plan for the site even before thinking of the master plan for the duration of the fair," Wu said.

Nobody, however, seems to have told the consulates. Staff at two consulates told the Shanghai Daily yesterday that they had heard of no such relocation plans.

At present, many foreign consulates are located around Huaihai Road and Hengshan Road, typically occupying buildings of historic interest.

The Expo village now provides apartments and offices for officials from participating countries and organizations. Besides housing foreign consulates, Wu said it could also be a future location for high-end and regular hotels.

Under International Exposition Bureau rules, pavilions are to be torn down immediately after a six-month World Expo expires. But a few buildings may remain.

One of these in Shanghai will be the China Pavilion. Wu said it will become a museum focusing Chinese traditional cultures. The Performance Center, the Expo Center, the Expo Boulevard and the Theme Pavilion also will be kept after the fair ends.

"It sends a strong message that the Expo would make urban life better and sustainable, as large-scale historical buildings will be preserved and others would use energy saving methods," Wu said.

Overall, said Wu, "the site will be a new city center merging culture, ecosystem and international communication together."

The 1958 Brussels Expo in Belgium left the Atomic Tower and a memorial park. The 1962 Seattle Expo delivered the Space Needle and a series of buildings used as museums, including one devoted to music and science fiction. The 2000 Hanover Expo site has become a world-famous exhibition center.

Wu said a first-class exhibition city needs about 600,000 square meters of display area. Shanghai now has 400,000 square meters. The Expo buildings that remain can bridge the gap, said Wu.


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