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August 10, 2009

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Take a break in four 'green' parks

AS visitors to Shanghai World Expo become overwhelmed after hours of watching the numerous exhibitions and dazzling multimedia shows, they will be able to find respite in relaxing "green areas." Here they will be able to retreat from the competing attractions of participant countries, as well as the scorching sun of Shanghai's heat, in an elaborately designed "green lung."

The Shanghai World Expo organizer has reserved a passive recreation area along the Huangpu River which will be the largest expanse of green in the city.

Ambling among the trees and breathing the fresh air, watching exotic flowers and plants, having a picnic under the green shades and admiring the beautiful scenery along the riverside, the site's Expo Garden will be no less interesting for visitors than the pavilions' attractions.

The 5.28-square-kilometer Expo site has four main parks - Houtan Park, Expo Garden and Bailianjing Park in Pudong section as well as Jiangnan Park in Puxi area - which account for more than 10 percent of the total Expo area. The three parks in Pudong connect with each other and cover the 2-kilometer-long riverside. They are also quite close to the core area of the Expo site so that people can access them easily from the China Pavilion and Performance Center.

The Jiangnan Park, being built on the former Jiangnan Shipyard, will remind people of the former glory of China's earliest industry. With more than 7,000 trees being planted, the parks are nearly complete and workers are watering them every day to ensure green cover for visitors by the time the event begins in May.

Walking into the parks feels like entering a different green and restive world far away from the roaring Expo construction site.

The 230,000-square-meter Expo Garden connecting the Expo Center and Expo Boulevard is in the shape of a traditional Chinese folding fan.

More than 3,700 tall trees have been planted radially as the "ribs" of the grassland area and as the major shade providers. Meandering brooks and zigzag lanes form a water-and-ink landscape.

The lines of trees will provide natural air-conditioning by channelling the wind through the Expo site.

The young arbors, including fir trees and maidenhairs, are of almost the same size and have been pruned carefully to make the branches grow in the same direction, said Zhu Shengxuan, one of the garden designers.

Maple trees

The garden also has some "treasure trees." The organizer has introduced 20 Acer palmatum from Japan - also called Japanese Maple - that cost 100,000 yuan (US$14,640) each. The woody species is among some of the maple trees that will stay green all throughout the year.

The 139,000-square-meter Houtan Park beside Lupu Bridge will be not only a green fence on the west of the Expo site, but also a strong flood prevention wall protecting the whole site.

The park cascades down from the wall to the Huangpu River to allow visitors a premium view of the riverside scenery.

Bailianjing Park on the east side will be a natural "water purification factory," cleansing the Huangpu River by recycling river water through a synthetic wetland.

The park is similar to the Living Water Park of Chengdu, Sichuan Province, which is a biological purification park presented as an Urban Best Practices case.

Jiangnan Park in the corporate pavilions section will emerge from the site of former high-pollution factories. Beneath it are the foundations of the former Jiangnan Shipyard, one of the country's earliest industries.

Two cranes that took newly built ships to the river have been incorporated into the park, said Zhu.

Some art sculptures made from disused furnaces or machinery will commemmorate the factory's former glory.

With more than 250 days to the start of Expo, people can already see the well-designed parks from vantage points on the Lupu and Nanpu bridges. However, they will be in full bloom next year.

Some Huangpu River water will channelled to the parks to make brooks and waterfalls. It will also be sprinkled on grassland to lower the temperature by about 5 degrees Celsius, according to Zhu.

All the parks and other green areas on the Expo site will be retained after the 2010 event as free-entry squares and public gardens for Shanghai residents, the organizer said.

Q: What landmark building remained after Expo 1962 Seattle?

A:The Space Needle.

A major construction designed by Edward E. Carson, the president of Western international hotels, for Expo Seattle, the Space Needle accurately reflected the theme of the event: Man in the Space Age. It is unique and avant-garde in shape with a circular rotating restaurant at the top which conveys the aura of a UFO craft.

It remains a major landmark and distinctive symbol of Seattle. When completed it was the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River.

Local citizens at the time joked that it would serve for the exclusive use of the US president to leave the planet at the time of major disaster.

Expo Seattle outlined future prospects for mankind, some of which have been realized, others not:

That people will travel to work in their private gyroplanes;

That walls will be filled with air;

That classrooms will float and keep moving with the sun so that students' textbooks are always in the sunshine;

That all visitors to Expo 1962 Seattle will set foot on the moon;

That people will access continuous supplies of food by turning on a tap, just as a faucet now delivers water.

Q: Which Expo clearly touched upon environmental issues first?

A:Expo 1974 Spokane is the first World Expo with a theme relating to environmental issues - Celebrating Tomorrow's Fresh New Environment.

When Expo Spokane successfully opened, people released trout into the Spokane River for two major purposes: one was that 1974 celebrated the 100th anniversary of the birth of the city; the other was to convey a message that pollution controls for Spokane River increased the sustainability of fish stocks.

And on June 5, 1974, World Environment Day was initiated at Expo Spokane with the theme of there being "Only One Earth." Previous Expos had celebrated the evolution of civilization with the most up-to-date science and technology and the finest works of art but Expo 1974 reflected on the human faults in such progress and marked a World Expo turning point.

Q: Which city has hosted the most World Expos?

A: Paris. Seven times in all.

The city hosted its first World Expo in 1855, followed by Expo 1867, Expo 1878, Expo 1889, Expo 1900, Expo 1925 and Expo 1937. In 1855, by setting up an independent pavilion, Expo Paris celebrated works of art as an integral component of World Expo. Since then, each country has selected and displayed its finest works of art at World Expos held in Paris.

Expo Paris injected the characteristics of French culture into the development of World Expo. In addition to new technology and equipment, outstanding artists, classical music, mellow food and wine and elegant fashion were also displayed at Expo Paris, making it a genuine grand event for the achievements of civilization in industry, agriculture and art.


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