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Future cities will be built of wood, bamboo and sandstone, avoiding concrete if the countries that have put up imaginative structures at the World Expo 2010 at Shanghai are to be believed. The Expo opened for visitors on Saturday, with scores of countries including India, China, Canada and Brazil vying to prove their environmental credentials.

The result is a range of stunning designs and structures, all using the least polluting materials, to grace the six-month-long exhibition titled, "Better City, Better Life". Sustainable living appears a lot colourful and charming compared to concrete boxes that fill modern cities.

The absence of variety in the audience was the only regret for the participants. The World Expo is an overwhelmingly Chinese affair with few foreign faces among the crowds.

"I don't think many foreigners have flown in, apart from the officials of the participating countries. The low turnout of foreigners is surprising because Shanghai has a huge expat population," said Brazilian visitor Jon Marsh.
A display of a massive dome, made almost entirely of bamboo, was India's contribution to the theme. The dome is covered with thousands of flowering plants growing out of a special material draped over the bamboo mesh. The inside walls are covered with saris drawn from across the country.

China's has contributed a massive red coloured roof made of interlocking wooden brackets without the use of nails. The design called 'dougong' in Chinese architectural system dates back 2000 years. China also made its green statement through use of solar lights and sitting arrangements consisting 2,000 benches made out of recycled milk and beverage cartons. 


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