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November 11, 2010

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Some foreign pavilions may stay

About 10 foreign national pavilions "have the possibility" of remaining in Shanghai even though the World Expo 2010 is over, the city's top official said in a TV interview yesterday.

Some countries have expressed hopes that their pavilions would be kept in the city and experts have been evaluating which should be retained, said Shanghai Party chief Yu Zhengsheng. However, he did not specify which pavilions were on the list.

All the foreign pavilions should be dismantled after each World Expo, according to stipulation of the International Exposition Bureau, the governing body of the World Expo, but Yu said the city could make exceptions.

"If some countries are willing to present the pavilions to the Expo organizer and their pavilions are worth retaining, the city can negotiate with them," Yu said.

Experts from the China Construction Industry Association have evaluated pavilions, based on appearance, foundations and structural strength, as some were intended to be temporary.

The Expo featured around 50 stand-alone pavilions.

Vicente Loscertales, secretary general of the bureau, has said the Shanghai Expo had the largest number and highest quality of national pavilions.

Structures which will definitely remain are five built by the organizer. These are the China Pavilion, Expo Center, Theme Pavilions, Culture Center and Expo Boulevard.

The China Pavilion may be converted into a high-level exhibition hall, a public library or a museum, Yu said.

"The pavilion will be turned into either a cultural or exhibition venue. The government has yet to make a final decision," he said.

Yu said the redeveloped Expo site will be low-carbon, energy-efficient and accessible to the public.

The Pudong area that accounts for two-thirds of the 5.28-square-kilometer site will be used for culture, exhibition and commerce, while the Puxi site will be an area for industry and exhibitions, he added.

The city will not seek profits in developing the land at the Expo site, Yu said, adding that the government will use any profits to build public housing in the area.

"We expect income from the land development to break even with the money that the government spent for relocation before the Expo," he said.

Yu said the city will ensure that more than 60 percent of the real estate projects started next year will be affordable housing, the same as this year. "After three or four years of construction, the city's housing problem is expected to be relieved."

About 18,000 residents and 272 factories were moved from the Expo site from 2006.

Zhou Hanmin, deputy director of the Expo 2010 Executive Committee, has said more than 10 billion yuan (US$1.5 billion) was spent on relocation, according to a report of China News Service.

Yu said the electric shuttle buses used at the Expo will go into service across the city, with government backing.


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