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Flagship blog - eng

Expo Milano 2015: Global Cultural Olympiad?

The universal exhibition EXPO 2015 currently takes place in Milan from May to October 2015. Over 140 countries showcase the best of their technology to support the core theme Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life with the main question being how to guarantee all inhabitants of the planet healthy, safe and sufficient food and drinking water, while respecting the planet and not wasting food.

The exhibition should focus on key issues of sustainable development, however, itself it is unsustainable and controversial. Even though, EXPO is seen as a very popular event, with 20 million visitors attending over the six-month period.

Czech pavilion is one of few that can be recycled

The Czech Republic shows its achievements in the field of science and technology. Even though it is not directly linked to food, Italian media have ranked it among the top five pavilions. One of the main reasons is the recyclability of the building – the pavilion consists of a simple white building composed out of several modules that when dismantled, will be used to build a kindergarten.

In total, the construction of the Czech pavilion, its daily operation and salaries should cost about 260 million crowns. Due to the economical crisis, the Czech state will not pay this full price for the first time alone, but is being supported by private sector, which presents itself in the pavilion. Overall, the Czech state provides about 200 million crowns and the private sector around 50 million crowns. Detailed finances are in Czech here:

It’s a waste, say critics

The event is accompanied by large protests; only its 7-year long preparation was linked to corruption scandals, for which 18 high-ranking organizers of the Expo were arrested. Critics also point out the higher than estimated construction costs for the majority of pavilions and construction delays. Movement “No Expo” fights against wasting of public funds, opaque contracts and creation of new debt during the economic crisis. Countries like Canada, Australia, South Africa and Scandinavian countries are not attending due to unnecessary high costs.

According to protesters, the main theme of the event – quality food for all – is also being exploited, in favor of companies without good reputation. It is said to be a fair for international food corporations such as Coca Cola, McDonald’s and Nestlé, which have their own huge on-site pavilions.

Does EXPO 2015 bring a cultural experience, or is it just a big fair?

What do you think? Can the core idea of the exhibition – to guarantee all inhabitants of the planet healthy, safe and sufficient food and drinking water – appropriately and responsibly present itself within the pavilions of different countries? Or should all of the money rather be invested in specific activities that will help in the given countries? Architects will probably have different opinions about this than economists, but that is what’s nice about it. We would love to hear your views and experiences.