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June 5, 2010

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Sao Paulo hopes to go in Shanghai's footsteps

SAO Paulo is at Shanghai World Expo 2010 for two reasons.

One, to showcase its success in removing eyesore billboards from the city in the Urban Best Practices Area.

And two, to learn from Shanghai as the Brazilian city plans to bid to host the 2020 Expo.

Adriana Reis, press officer with the Sao Paulo Pavilion, said: "We want to hold an Expo just like Shanghai as you can see how important the Expo is to (the development) of Shanghai."

He said the pavilion shares how Sao Paulo eliminated advertising billboards littered across the city.

The municipal government passed the Clean City Act, which required all large and unqualified billboards to be torn down, or the owners would be ordered to pay heavy fines.

Three months after the act took effect in January 2007, the annoying adverts were gone, but left behind were the billboards. The government then provided the funds to remove the billboards.

The project was completed within six months.

Alfredo Cotait Neto, municipal secretary with Sao Paulo, said the support of citizens was one of the main reasons the Clean City Act worked. Now they are carrying out phase two of the act -- planting more trees. Last year, about 180,000 trees were planted.

Sun Liansheng, director of the UBPA, said earlier that the Sao Paulo presentation can benefit metropolises across the world in fighting against visual pollution.

Shanghai and Sao Paulo -- both famous for large populations and quick economic development -- became sister cities in 1988.

At the Sao Paulo Pavilion, visitors first see a room full of colorful advertisements, which is how the city looked before the Clean City Act took effect. The tidy space afterward shows the success of the act.

The walls of the pavilion are composed of many square boards. One side shows the city's old look while the other is the new look.Visitors can turn the boards to experience the city's change for themselves. Brazilian music plays in the background.


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