While Beijing’s urban reinvention for the 2008 Summer Olympics is attracting plenty of attention now, similarly large-scale preparations are under way in Shanghai, China’s largest city, for the 2010 World Expo. Compared to the Olympics, which lasts just a fortnight, this event will extend six months and is expected to attract 70 million visitors, according to the city’s projections.
Given the Expo’s theme, “Better City, Better Life,” Shanghai has already started huge infrastructural upgrades, including the construction of four new underground train lines that will nearly double the capacity of its mass-transit system. Work has also begun on a second magnetic levitation train that will connect Shanghai to the neighboring city of Hangzhou. But with the Expo looming just three years in the future, planners have yet to select the architects for several key projects, and other uncertainties remain. Politics is to blame.