After running for 184 exciting and lively days, the curtain has finally descended on the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. As this great world event ends, heated discussion has started up about its significance, both internationally and for China.
The Shanghai Expo has set a number of records in the event's 159-year history. It was the first Expo ever held in a developing nation and was attended by the largest number of international exhibitors. The Expo site set a record as the biggest ever, and there was an unprecedented flow of visitors. These were highlighted by the pioneering efforts of the Urban Best Practices Area. While these impressive facts can be marshalled to show the organizers fulfilled their promise of making the Expo a successful, wonderful and unforgettable event, they represent only part of the Expo's resounding success, and are not adequate to register the full impact the Shanghai Expo will have on the world.
The Expo boasted other notable highlights apart from the records it set. The series of forums, with themes ranging from preservation of cultural heritage to economic prosperity and scientific innovation in cities, provided a platform for world leaders, officials and experts to discuss topics of common concern and share their experience and insights in related fields. The great variety of new scientific gadgets, technologies and hi-tech exhibits all broadened visitors' horizons, and will likely spur current and following generations, just as many previous Expos did, to even greater technological breakthroughs in the future. As a practical spin-off, the most advanced products or technologies such as clean-energy vehicles and forgery-proof Expo passes to solar-powered buildings found application in the Expo site. All these new products and technologies will be further developed to make urban life in Shanghai—and the world—better and more sustainable.
The Expo not only offered a grand and colorful visual feast to the world of past glories and present progress to an international audience, but transformed a host city of 20 million citizens. Along with holding the Expo, Shanghai has put into practice its theme "Better City, Better Life" by revamping urban infrastructure, beautifying its landscape and bringing greater convenience and benefits to the lives of its citizens. Moreover, the Expo generally upgraded civic standards, not only those of the dedicated volunteers—hard-working Expo staff and service workers—but those of millions of enthusiastic local citizens. Their endeavors and sacrifices showed the Expo worthy of the trust placed in the city and fulfilled the expectations of the world community.
More importantly, with its landmark theme aimed at improving the lives of virtually half of the world's population, the Shanghai Expo inspired wide and in-depth thinking on a number of urban issues. As well, it came up with wise and practical solutions to address them in appropriate and effective ways. The way it addressed its theme will be a great and long-lasting legacy for global urban development now and in the future. For these reasons, the Shanghai World Expo has made an indelible contribution to the world.