In the Sands of Time: World Expo: London 1851 to Dubai 2020

03/11/2015 11:50 am ET | Updated May 06, 2015

In 2013, it was decided that the United Arab Emirates would host the World Expo in 2020. It was and still is a pretty big deal for the MENASA (Middle East, North Africa, South Asia) region because such a mega event is going to be a first of its kind in this part of the world.

Each World Expo is supposed to be a stimulus for economic, cultural and social transformation. It creates legacies that people talk about for years and sometimes generations, and the UAE hopes to create the same for itself and the world. In addition, the expo of 2020 nicely coincides with the UAE's 50th union celebration. 2020 will be remembered, as a milestone in history, for it will mark the beginning of the golden era of progressive and sustainable development.

World Expos have mostly given us key inventions, breakthrough ideas and processes that we use till date. The first expo took place in 1851, London. It was the inaugural World Expo, which attracted six million people. The fair made a surplus of £16m, which was used to establish the Victoria & Albert, Science and Natural History Museums. The expo of 1889 in Paris saw the commissioning of the Eiffel tower. The telephone, commercial typewriter, and Heinz Tomato Ketchup, were all gifts from the expo of 1876 in Philadelphia.

The 1900's expo gave us innovations like the escalators, diesel engines, Ferris wheels, talking films and our very favorite edible ice cream cones. Mobile phones were first seen at the Osaka expo in the 70's. Monorail systems, sky-trains, gondolas and water taxis were first introduced at the expo in Vancouver in the 80's.The very recent 2010 Shanghai expo transformed an industrial area into a cultural and commercial district while bringing the theme "Better City, Better Life" to the attention of the world.

The upcoming Milan expo of 2015 addresses the theme of feeding the planet. The Milan expo will be quite fascinating as it aims to exhibit various technologies, innovations, cultures and creativity that offer concrete answers to a vital need: "being able to guarantee healthy, safe and sufficient food for everyone, while respecting the Planet and its equilibrium." Hopefully, great insights regarding balance, and preservation will come out from this expo.

"Connecting Minds, Creating the Future" is the theme for the Dubai 2020 Expo with underlying content areas of Mobility, Sustainability & Opportunity. The key idea here is to connect people from all over the world through partnership and inclusivity, discuss pioneering ideas and innovative products that may change the future and to have a meaningful impact on the developing nations of the world.

If we were to apply Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs on the Dubai Expo 2020 project, we can predict that it will be a huge hit because it seeks to addresses the human needs from the base level to the top on the pyramid of needs. In other words, it means that there will be something for everyone at the expo. The Dubai Expo through its theme will seek answers to needs, wants and also luxurious desires of the world populace. The openness, relatability, inclusivity, and collaboration will act as robust pillars on which the expo will stand strong.

It is a known fact that a city changes forever after hosting a World Expo. Though Dubai may change, it will bring a much needed transformation to the global community in every which way. If there are dreams that are going to be met, and aspirations fulfilled, it will be at the Dubai Expo of 2020.

Victor Hugo once said, "There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come." That idea for the world in 2020 will be the "Dubai Expo". Five years of patience to watch Dubai leave a legacy so grand that it becomes a hallmark of amazement to the rest of the world.

Then when Expo 2025 rolls in, the world will simply say, "Do it like Dubai, or don't do it."

© 2015, Dr. Sriya Chakravarti, All Rights Reserved.

References:

http://expo2020dubai.ae/en
http://www.expo2015.org/en