Defining a world expo
A world expo can be defined as a very large, public exhibition, held in varying parts of the world and displaying a range of themes and topics.
World expos have been going since the mid-ninteenth century when the first one was held in London, UK. This came as a result of the concept proving tremendously popular in France during a time of increased prosperity, innovation and technological advance.
One of the most remarkable features of a world expo is the construction and exhibition of bespoke pavilions by participating countries. There are some marked examples across the globe of how these pavilions have been integral to the exhibiting country’s showcase.
World expo eras
Throughout the last 160 years, there have been notable ‘eras’ in which certain exhibitions have fallen in to. These include the industrilaization era from 1851-1938, the cultural exchange era from 1939-1987 and the nation branding era from 1988 to the present day.
Whilst these eras are mostly unofficial, they do represent palpable distinctions in themes.
One reason for the change to ‘nation branding’ in 1988 was the desire by participating countries to try and improve their national image on a global scale. This meant the focus changed from a more utopian, cultural theme to something much more specific to the country itself.
The future of the world expo
The world expo as a concept certainly seems as though it’s here to stay. It has been running for over 160 years..
It is constantly evolving as technological advancements allows more efficient use of time and space for exhibitions. Due to its popularity, a stringent bidding and judging process is in place to assess the suitability of potential host nations and cities for a world expo. This process can take many months to plan.
Famous world expos
It is very hard to pinpoint the most famous world expo because so many are noteworthy for a variety of different reasons.
The first ever Expo in London saw the construction of The Crystal Palace which, incidentally was built with a view to being reused for other purposes to recoup losses made on building it. It proved to be too successful however and remained a permanent structure until it burnt down in 1936.
In 1880 The World Heritage-listed Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne, Australia was constructed for the Melbourne International Exhibition. It still stands to today as a prime example of how a world expo can have a profound effect on a country.
The winning city for the next World Expo will be announced in November 2013 following a vote by the 160 member nations of the Bureau International des Expositions.