As the exhibition at the Triennale Design Museum in Milan on the Milano Expo 2015 clearly states, governments have been staging mega-events since at least the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace in 1851, designed to show off to the world Britain’s industrial prowess. As part of my masters, I’ve been looking at whether they like up to the hype.
Milan, one of the most built-up cities in Europe (with few parks), bid to host the 2015 Expo by promising new green credentials. Judging by the presentation, organisers are attempting to link green technologies with food, a weapon Italy often uses to charm (indeed Milan’s best bakers were giving away to die-for foccacia the day we visited). The logic being that with growing populations and environmental concerns, the world is going to have to change the way it makes food. And because Italy makes great food (no argument there!), it should take the lead. However, friends inform me that many of the other green promises that were part of the bid – such as a green network of cycle routes – have quietly been dropped. And municipal authorities took advantage of the Christmas period (when protesters were absent) to start demolishing one of the few meighbourhood parks to make way for a new skyscraper for the local authority. Meanwhile, even the stated legacy objectives appear pretty flimsy: for example “the expo will leave geopolitical and geo-economic networks as an asset to the city and the entire country.”