With just three weeks to go before Expo winds down and disappears, it’s probably going to be pretty crowded amongst the pavilions on the Pudong side. But if you really wanted to see showcases from around the world, there’s actually no better place to visit than the delightfully less tired Urban Best Practices Area in Puxi.
The Urban Best Practices Area, located in Section E in Puxi, is dedicated to letting “cities share and exchange experiences in urban construction and development.: Ironically, it’s probably the only part of Expo that actually takes that whole “Better City, Better Life” theme seriously.
Cities from Rotterdam to Hangzhou have built their own mini-pavilions, some of which are as architecturally striking as the offerings in Pudong – but unlike many of those, these actually showcase some of the technologies and other cool ideas that make their areas easy to live in.
For instance, you could wait hours in line to walk into the Seed Cathedral for the UK Pavilion… It’s a really cool concept and all, but three hours to wander around one small room? Come on. OR you could head to the UBPA, where Liverpool and London actually tell you what’s great about living there.
Obviously, some showcases were better than others: Seoul’s felt like one giant advertisement to go become a tourist in Seoul – quite hilariously, their big screens played overwrought dramas with captions underneath pointing out which tourist locale an angsty Star A was running through. Others were incredibly informative: I had no idea Dafeng Town in Shenzhen was famous for making art copycats or that Montreal created a park out of a landfill.
Shanghai Daily has reported that the UBPA has received an up-tick of visitors since it opened. I’m not sure if that’s true – it seems most of the attention, especially in the last few weeks, are still being turned towards the massive country pavilions. But if you’ve already seen those, or you want to go to Expo and not spend all the time waiting in lines, there’s really no better place than the UBPA.