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Shanghai Before and After the World Fair

Expo 2010 ShanghaiChina was held from 1st May to 31st October 2010. It is the biggest ever world fair to have ever taken place. This massive exposure of Shanghai to the rest of the world showed it like never before and led to various changes in its social, economic, and political life. One of the major changes that took place was the number of tourists who visited Shanghai during and after the world fair. During the fair, a record number of 3.5 million tourists visited it during its 84 days of activities; however, the massive exposure that resulted from the fair also attracted more attention to Shanghai; this led to an increase in the annual number of visitors of Shanghai.

In the year 2012, the number of visitors is expected to be 8.25 million. This represents the increase of 3 percent from 2011 which had reduced numbers mainly due to the world economic crisis. In a bid to boost the numbers of tourism, Shanghai introduced a 72 hours visa free stay to citizens from the United States, France, Australia, and Japan after the world fair which is expected to boost the numbers of tourists even more. The post expo tourism boost was further enhanced by he increased international media interest in Shanghai that led to many documentaries encouraging tourists to visit Shanghai and experience its world class hospitality; such a documentary was held on CNN titled 20 reasons to visit Shanghai.

The city also increased the number of hotels making room for more visitors compared to before the expo, this was further enhanced by the reduction in cost for the hotels meaning the increased number of visitors both local and international due to the incentives offered in Shanghai. It is therefore evident that Shanghai became a bigger tourist destination after the expo than it was before.

Shanghai architecture was also heavily influenced by the world fair in 2010. It introduced many new architectural ideas and designs to Shanghai as the participating nations and individuals came to Shanghai with new ideas. Many of the pavilions used by the various countries as their exhibition centers were architectural wonders that had never been designed before. Some of the most brilliant architectural minds from the participating nations came up with building designs that were wonderful as well as marvelous.

The major architectural highlights of the world fair in Shanghai were the Danish pavilion, the Russian pavilion, South Korea's pavilion, the Canadian pavilion, the German pavilion, the Norwegian pavilion, and the Polish pavilion just to mention a few. Some of these exquisite designs were adopted after the world fair; therefore, it had significantly improved the architectural marvels in Shanghai.

The magnificent Chinese pavilion was retained and was to be transformed into a museum to commemorate the successful hosting of the event in Shanghai, China. Other architectural designs that were adopted and used to build buildings in China included the Taiwan pavilion which was one of the most striking in the event and was to be rebuilt for the future attractions. The Shanghai Expo cultural center was also converted to the Mercedes Benz Arena which impacted hugely the architectural attraction in Shanghai. In general, Shanghai was well-endowed in terms of architectural designs before the world fair. After the event, new and exciting designs were introduced to Shanghai that helped to come up with new buildings that would not have been there were the world fair not have been held in Shanghai.

Infrastructure was also heavily influenced by the world fair in Shanghai. It is the biggest legacy of the expo. The city of Shanghai together with the central government invested over 95 billion dollars in infrastructure projects in preparation for the world fair that was held in Shanghai. Most of these projects were envisioned to help the visitors have easy access to world fair that ended making the most significant legacy of the expo as they improved the city significantly.

The infrastructure development that preceded the world fair surpassed anything that had ever been seen in the world. The major infrastructural advancement was the metro network build prior to the world fair and is still being built even after the expo. Before the expo, only three metro lines were working, but by the opening of the world fair, 12 metro lines were working covering a total distance of 420 kilometers. There are also plans to increase the total number of metro lines to 20 covering 920 kilometers by 2020. These new infrastructural developments in Shanghai were a major boost in opening up the city.

New buildings and satellite estates emerged as a result of these metro lines. Another major investment was the inter-city rail networks that connected the various cities in Shanghai. This development in the rail sector led to the introduction of high-speed trains that connected the cities in and around Shanghai. This culminated in the introduction of a high-speed train in 2010 that could cover 380km/h. It is therefore evident that significant infrastructural strides were made after the expo in Shanghai that were not there before leaving a lasting legacy on the city that made it one of the most accessible cities in the world.

The impact on the environment by the world fair in Shanghai was another major development. The theme of the expo worked around low carbon emission and generally environmental friendly policies. Before the world fair in Shanghai, the policies were majorly focusing on economic growth over environmental conservation and preservation. However, during the preparation for the expo and after it, environmental friendly policies were introduced that had major positive impacts on Shanghai and China as a nation.

Some of the policies advanced the use of renewable energy like wind energy, solar energy, and air conditioning renewable energy (geothermal and river-water heat pump). Conservation of energy was also greatly advanced in the expo buildings and was later adopted for household usage. As laid out in UNEPS assessment of the expo, the transport system used in the world fair was commended for being efficient and lowering pollution of the environment. This was achieved by the use of new energy vehicles that reduced emissions into the environment. Shanghai also undertook afforestation and reforestation programs that significantly improved the environment.

During and after the expo the air, the quality of life in Shanghai has improved tremendously as indicated by UNEPS report on the world fair in Shanghai. The city also improved its waste management systems and recycling capabilities to clean environment and avoid accumulation of toxic waste. Comparing Shanghai before and after the expo, it is evident that the environment was better managed after the expo than before. These new environmental policies were generally taken up by the central government and applied in many cities across China as a nation. The world fair, therefore, had a positive impact on Shanghai environmentally as well as in China generally.

The world fair also opened new cultures of the foreign countries. Some of these urban cultures were introduced in the Chinese lifestyle. These new cultures led to the introduction of foreign foods to the Chinese way of life through the opening of restaurants and other entertainment facilities that offered services that were unique to their countries of origin.

The Chinese also started production of films that focused on the new trends of urban life outside their traditional perception. Production of soap operas and other telenovas was greatly improved to keep up with trends outside China and Shanghai. The new cultures enhanced the further development of the comic world in China with new pieces including their own version of Batman and Superman as well as many other fictional works. The social life of the residents of Shanghai also improved significantly due to the better healthcare facilities that appeared after the world fair.

During and after the world fair, the people in and outside Shanghai benefitted massively in terms of job opportunities. The new developments put in place in architecture and infrastructure opened up many job opportunities in Shanghai and China in general that were not there before the expo. The world fair improved diplomatic relations between China and the rest of the world. This has been evidenced by the increased number of tourists from China to the rest of the world. It is evident that the world fair in China has had a huge impact on developing of urban China. The external cultures and ideas as laid above have had an immense impact on China as a country as it tries to move on from the strong communist years that had hindered its development. These new measures have seen China emerge as a superpower in the world.