ArgumentNo. 4/2012

World Expos - solutions for the regeneration of portuary areas?

Abstract

Based on the analysis of recent interventions, the paper aims to evaluate whether the use of major international events such as world exhibitions can serve as a catalyst for the development of derelict portuary areas and to what extent such a radical intervention may be considered a long term success for the host city.

Two recent examples of such exhibitions, somewhat at opposite poles (Expo 98 Lisbon-considered to be one of the most modest recent events of its kind and Expo 2010 Shanghai - in many ways considered the most complex) are used as the starting point for a more comprehensive approach to the consequences of such interventions, resulting in an evaluation of the associated positive and negative aspects.

Relying on specific examples to support and illustrate each argument, the analysis touches on many aspects such as the economic, functional, social, cultural ones; however it focuses on the urban concerns, ranging from the integration of the intervention at a global scale to the architectural qualities of single objects.

Given the current economic and cultural context in which the rhetoric of progress has been replaced with the rhetoric of sustainable development, future trends regarding these events appear quite obvious: the relative success that they record and the high risk of such large investments hint that the best solution for the regeneration of portuary areas should be sought elsewhere.

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