The Mixed Blessing of Hosting a World Expo

Some of the world's iconic landmarks -- like the Eiffel Tower and Montreal's Biosphere -- have been borne from world's expositions. Expos can highlight cities' progress and offer an economic boost, but accompanying costs can overshadow the benefits.
September 8, 2013, 7am PDT | Alek Miller
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World expositions showcase the architecture, technology, and culture from cities all over the globe and can constitute a boon for the economy and status of host cities, explains Georgi Kantchev.

"Today, though, hosting an expo means much more than buildings. Bidders count on an economic boost and a higher international profile as benefits from staging the six-month event. 'An expo marks a certain 'coming of age' for a city,' Urso Chappell, an expo historian, said. 'It can aid a city's physical redevelopment as well as the nation's image abroad.'

However, the boost in status and the economic benefits sometimes don't pan out, or cost much more than organizers predict.

"And while expo officials count urban development as a major benefit of hosting, it comes at a cost. In the preparations for the Shanghai World Expo [in 2010], Chinese authorities demolished thousands of homes and displaced 18,000 families, according to Amnesty International, a human rights group."


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Published on Monday, August 26, 2013 in The New York Times
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