Buildings like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Atomium in Brussels or even the Unisphere in New York city now represent important landmarks in their cities but, originally, these structures were not built as city symbols but as a part of exhibitions for the different world fairs through time.
In 2020, Dubai will be hosting the first international expo, not only in the country but on the whole region, and expectations are nothing but low. With a big showcase of new technology and innovation, Dubai has placed the stakes very high and decided to devote their time and resources to this project. The reason for this is simple, the world fair is nothing but an excellent investment opportunity for countries to showcase their most important achievements and economic power to the world.
The first world fair started in 1851, in London, and its most distinguished structure was the Crystal Palace, unfortunately destroyed by a fire later in time, this structure was developed by the English in order to display the outstanding developments of the industrial era and the importance of Great Britain at the time. All of the subsequent fairs have followed this path and nowadays, these events have acquired a global importance and great influence throughout the world.
Each international expo is organized by a host country, the most important participant in the event. The host then invites other countries, businesses and international organizations to participate and the event is open to the public in order to obtain its goal of promoting education, progress, and innovation by encouraging cooperation between a wide variety of people from different backgrounds, nationalities and industries.
There exists two types or international expositions: registered and recognized. Registered ones, such as the Expo 2020 in Dubai, last from 6 weeks to 6 months and are much bigger and costly than recognized expositions, which only last between 3 weeks to 3 months. The Expo in Dubai is expected to open on the 20th October 2020 and finish the 10th April 2021.
As mentioned above, the next international world fair will take place in the Dubai district, more specifically between the city of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, next to Al Maktoum International Airport. The Master plan for the event is already established, the construction has started already and it is expected to be finished by the end of 2019.
The plan was designed by the American company HOK and it displays a central plaza, named “Al Wasi” meaning the connection in Arabic, encircled by 3 pavilions each one dedicated to one of the Expo’s themes. Between these structures, smaller exhibitions will be displayed with the intention of improving the flow of visitors on the location, as the surface throughout the exhibition is immense – 4.38 square kilometers.
For this event, the UAE has chosen the slogan “connecting minds creating the future” and its themes are Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability. Opportunity discusses how to encourage people to develop their potential through capital and partnerships in order to grow and promote innovation. Mobility refers to the facilitation of access to food and goods, as well as improving virtual connectivity. Finally, sustainability refers to the protection of habitats for the sale of ensuring our well-being and those of our future generations.
The world fair slogan and sub-themes will define a clear outline for the exhibition, where every single aspect is taken into consideration and not only events but also the structures themselves must comply with each fair’s themes to offer participants a great platform for debate and collaboration between each other, bringing the spotlight to these important issues.
The UAE has not fallen short to the expectations of future participants and is currently creating a cutting-edge environment capable of promoting and encouraging their themes through the use of novel methods and revolutionary technology such as gigantic solar panels throughout the site capable of generating a year supply of electricity for over 300 families, as well as, innovating systems for recollecting water from the ground, the atmosphere and even from waste. Nonetheless, the UAE has not forgotten the importance of aesthetics and has hired Spanish architect and structural engineer Santiago Calatrava, responsible for constructions such as The Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro or the TGV station in Lyon, to develop their pavilion. Calatrava’s futuristic and innovative design of the UAE’s 15 000 square meters’ pavilion has been able to bring the expo’s main themes to reality and with time, this incredible construction might even become a referent for further fairs.
This event is expected to attire over 25 million people and over 200 participants, from places all over the world. However, this is not an astonishing factor as previous fairs have had great attendance as well. The differentiating factor that makes the Dubai International Expo unique is the percentage of international attendants expected. Estimates assume as much as 70% of the participants to be foreigners, probably making the Expo 2020 the most international fair out of all of the previous ones.
Due to the huge influx of people that Dubai is expected to have during the fair, it was necessary for the UAE government to expand its infrastructure and at this moment, massive enhancements are being made. New hotels are being built and even the public metro system will add a new line. This new metro line called Expo 2020 will not only offer direct transportation to the expo site but it will also pass through many of Dubai’s popular zones such as the Discovery Gardens or the Dubai Investments Park. This project will be managed by Expolink, a French, Spanish and Turkish consortium. The new 15-kilometer metro line is mainly being built with the Expo 2020 in mind, however, after the event has passed, it will also serve the vicinities and relieve some of the traffic caused by the rapid population growth of the zone.
There are still a few years left until we can see finally see the Expo 2020 fully completed, and the real popularity and attendance levels of the fair are still to be confirmed. Nevertheless, all of the hard work that the UAE is putting into bringing their vision of the international fair to life keeps us excited and positive about this very important global event.