In May, Shanghai will host the 2010 World Expo, an idea with a pedigree that dates back to the 19th century and which Paris, New York and Montreal, among others, have benefitted from greatly.
Some residents of Shanghai see the somewhat anachronistic event as a modest consolation prize for missing the Olympics. They are wrong in this. Expos can transform a city, and Shanghai is reportedly outspending Beijing’s vast Olympic preparations by a large margin.
All of which will improve the city immensely and all of which will bring Shanghai front and center as far as the world is concerned. This is not a parochial event. It is international in a major way and, judging by previous Expos, and this writer has attended every one since Montreal in 1967, it will improve the city beyond measure.
Shanghai is also reportedly rushing into effect new smoking regulations requiring smoke-free zones in restaurants, shopping centers and other public places. Hoorah.
Meanwhile the rest of Shanghai is being beautified (it needs it) and the result will be a cleaner, greener city.
The New York Times states emphatically that Shanghai, the most cosmopolitan city in China, is past due to be in the world’s limelight. And the Expo will do this. Without a doubt.