Milan Expo 2015 already looking to its legacy

Organizers start taking ideas for post-exposition theme park

Milan Expo 2015 already looking to its legacy

(By Paul Virgo) Rome, June 28 - Milan's Expo 2015 might still be two years away, but the next universal exposition is already thinking about what it will leave behind when it closes its doors. The event is set to be a major lift for Milan and recession-hit Italy as a whole, by providing a boost for the economy, creating jobs and shining the spotlight on the local business, culinary, cultural, natural and historic treasures. But organizers do not want the six-month event to be a glorious festival that leaves no tangible benefits behind after the curtain comes down on October 31 2015 - as has sometimes been the case with past events. So the Expo 2015 people have already started work on the event's legacy. Earlier this month Arexpo S.p.A., the company that owns the 43 hectares of land Expo 2015 will be held on, launched a consultative competition with several local authorities to get ideas for the theme park that will emerge there afterwards. The competition is open to members of the public, especially students, as well as companies and other organisations, who will be able to present their ideas until September 10. The projects will be analysed by the Arexpo committee that is developing the masterplan for the renovation of the site after the Expo and the best ones will be incorporated. "The masterplan that Arexpo is preparing for after the Universal Exposition will be enriched by the ideas and proposals that arrive and we hope lots come from young people," said Milan Mayor Giuliano Pisapia. "Once the shutters on the global event are closed, the park needs to be an element of excellence for the Milan of the future, for the metropolitan city that will be created in the coming years, the Smart City we are building. "This is a smart, sustainable city that wants to be competitive with the other big capitals of the global world". One hypothesis for the post-Expo era is for some of the event's pavilions to stay on and become permanent exhibition areas. "If it makes sense and is economically sustainable, then it is possible that some of the Expo structures could be part of the post-exposition situation," said Expo 2015 Commissioner Giuseppe Sala. "If some of the pavilions are unique pieces (for Expo) I can see them staying in the theme park". Expo 2015 is expected to attract over 20 millions of visitors and to be a massive money spinner for Italy's business capital. Italy last hosted a world's fair in 1992 with a Christopher Columbus-themed Expo in Genoa. Expo 2015 is already close to hitting its target of having 130-140 countries sign up by the end of the year after the Comoros Islands became the 129th earlier this month. Of those, 57 have already signed participation contracts for the Milan fair. The theme of the Expo 2015, 'Feeding the Planet - Energy for Life', centers on fighting famine and malnutrition worldwide through sustainable development, global cooperation and new technology. Former American vice-president and Nobel Peace Laureate Al Gore has endorsed the event, calling the theme "very solid" and designed to have "zero (negative) environmental impact".

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