With Dubai moving a step closer to hosting the Expo 2020 it reminds us of the relevance and the impact to the city and country’s infrastructure when hosting such events. Dubai’s infrastructure has grown in the past years and it’s already used to hosting and managing world class events. The Arabian sense of hospitality play an important role as it becomes an opportunity for the local government to showcase the Arabian culture in all of these events. The calendar of the Dubai Convention Center reflects the government’s intention to create and develop an economy beyond the oil revenues. The Dubai Convention Center was built in the 1970’s and its architecture reflects the early attempts at finding a modernist approach to Arabian culture. Its location on Sheikh Zayed Road marks the beginning of an impressive display of over 60 skyscrapers, including the Emirates Towers and Burj Khalifa.


Sheikh Zayed Road – Intersection with Financial Centre Road

Dubai Sheikh Zayed Road

Skyscrapers of Sheikh Zayed Road

Qatar which will be hosting the World Cup in 2022 is underway to a highly challenging task. It will be the second time that the World Cup will be hosted in Asia. Previously it was co-hosted by Japan and South Korea in 2002. There is already some controversy in regards to the high temperatures in Qatar during the months of June and July, as the World Cup is traditionally played during these months. UEFA, the European Football Association, has verbally sustained to play the 2022 World Cup during the European winter months. However, this is just the start of an exciting and challenging task that Qatar has ahead.

So what are the benefits of hosting such events? It’s a broad question, but we can draw a few conclusions analyzing some of the different events that have left a mark to the city and country’s infrastructure. The Flushing Meadows – Corona Park in the borough of Queens in New York City was built for the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair. It also held the 1964-1965 World’s Fair. Corona Park is a 3.63 km2 park, the 4th largest park in the city. Robert Moses, at the time Parks Commissioner of the City of New York, cleared the grounds from coal-burning ashes in order to build this park for the World’s Fair. As a result from the fair the park grounds hold the New York State Pavilion futuristic observatory towers designed by the architect Philip Johnson for the 1964-1965 fair.  Today, the New York City Pavilion from the 1939-1940 fair, houses the Queens Museum Art. This building from 1946 to 1951 was used as the UN headquarters prior to moving to the Manhattan headquarters designed by Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemayer.

Flushing Meadows

Robert Moses – design for Flushing Meadows – Corona Park


Phillip Johnson – New York State Pavilion – 1964-1965 World’s Fair

Corona Park since 1978 hosts the US Open tennis tournament. The park it’s also the home for the city’s baseball team New York Mets. The first stadium, Shea Stadium, was built in 1964 and opened just a few days before the fair.  In 2009, the New York Mets moved to Citi Field which was built adjacent to the now demolished Shea Stadium. The number 7 subway line was built to connect Corona Park to Manhattan. This line was largely built to serve the World Fairs in Queens. As a result of this, the Borough of Queens has developed and grown along and under the elevated subway line. People from more than 100 nationalities have chosen to live in Queens. The neighborhoods along the 7 subway line are a clear example of this ethnically diverse area. Its diversity is expressed on the streets as you can find an array of services; from restaurants to foreign banks to a variety of religious places of worship that serve the various ethnic groups.

This particular case of the New York City World’s Fairs of 1939-1940 and 1964-1965 are just one particular case that over the years has evolved into a fascinating case by playing an important role in the urban development of New York City and particularly the borough of Queens. In the next entry we would like to analyze the 1990 World Cup held in Italy together with the Milan Expo to be held in 2015 and its impact in Italian Football and in relationship to the current economic crisis.

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