As the Shanghai Expo 2010 draws to its close, the crowds it attracts will reportedly only increase in size. This makes seeing the mammoth, beautiful World's Fair even more difficult. However, if you still haven't gone, here is a revelation for you: the Puxi side of the Expo grounds.
Most visitors to the Expo mainly concern themselves with the extravaganza of pavilions on the Pudong side of the Huangpu River. They are, after all, magnificent, including the iconic China Pavilion. But the Puxi side of the Expo is equally impressive--and much less crowded. This side of the river showcases the Future Pavilion and the Urban Best Practices Area. Read on after the jump to discover more!
The Future Pavilion
The Future Pavilion looks a bit like a large factory, but don't let that deter you from going in. It's an extremely large pavilion that mainly houses videos, some live and some animated, all proposing better ways of building urban spaces in the future.
Some parts of this pavilion are a bit far-fetched. For example, a section is devoted entirely to "cities of the future" in the ocean, space, or forests that will have incredible amounts of technology. According to the video projected on a three-story wall inside, a citizen in the water city will be able to dive into the ocean in a scuba suit, hang out with dolphins, and come back up to the city completely dry for a cocktail. That's the kind of place I want to live in.
The Future Pavilion also produces more practical solutions for the future, including a room filled with technology that exists now and that will hopefully contribute to a cleaner, greener planet. It houses video interviews with experts from cities all around the world who explain their strategies for making the future as bright as can be.
A peaceful Puxi pavilion
Urban Best Practices Area
Despite the clunky translation of its Chinese name, the Urban Best Practices area of the Expo is fascinating and sleek. It features architecture every bit as stunning and cutting-edge as on the Puxi side, and still houses exhibits from individual countries. However, here the focus is on the city, not the state. Cities such as Hamburg, London, and Vienna all have their own pavilions, showcasing what makes each of these urban areas unique.
This is where the Expo refrain "Better City, Better Life" is heard at its strongest. It is in the Urban Best Practices area where you can see the ideas behind this slogan being put into action. Cities want to show off, want to portray their best, most eco-friendly side. Walking through these pavilions gives you hope that this planet can overcome the massive environmental problems it faces, with the help of our newest and best technology.
Overall, the Puxi side of the Expo makes for a great visit. Though its pavilions are less crowded, their contents are equally--if not more-- fascinating.