Urban Journalism Institute

Ukraine presents Odesa’s bid for World Expo 2030

On 25 January 2023, the historic centre of the port city of Odesa was added to the UNESCO’s World Heritage List and in the List of World Heritage in Danger. This decision recognizes the outstanding universal value of the site and the duty of all humanity to protect it. The bidding proposal for the World Expo 2030 focuses on an extensive use of recycled materials from damaged and demolished structures throughout southern Ukraine.

Ukraine’s bid for hosting the World Expo in the city of Odesa in 2030 was submitted to the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) in October 2021. A few months later, on 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. Far from withdrawing the candidature, the Ukrainian national government created a Coordination Committee headed by the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy.

In November 2022, a delegation representing Odesa presented the World Expo 2030 proposal to the members of the BIE in Paris. Three other cities are competing to host it: Busan in the Republic of Korea; Rome in Italy, and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. The project examination phase is currently underway, and the BIE will organize Enquiry Missions to all candidate countries between January and March 2023 to assess their feasibility and viability.

The host country of World Expo 2030 will then be elected by BIE Member States, gathered in a General Assembly set to take place in November 2023, on the principle of one country, one vote.

Odesa’s proposed theme is “Renaissance. Technology. Future.” with the goal to discuss all the questions surrounding the relationship between humans and technology in the near future.

The world-recognized studio, Zaha Hadid Architects, has joined Odesa-based studio JK Lab Architects in the design of the master plan for the Expo area. With the hope of a near-end of the war, the future development in Ukraine will see a fundamental transformation of the country’s economy towards energy efficiency and low-carbon technologies. Zaha Hadid Architects’ design for ODESA EXPO 2030 targets the effective re-use of all facilities after the exhibition has closed, a challenge that all Expos share with major public events the world over; creating an Expo of the future where nothing is wasted.

ODESA EXPO 2030 will minimize the use of concrete, with extensive use of recycled materials from damaged and demolished structures throughout southern Ukraine. Renewables will be integrated in the design of the pavilions, including photovoltaics on all roofs, while wind turbines connected to the EXPO 2030 micro-grid will contribute towards an energy–positive site supplying its own energy demand, but also supplying renewable energy to the local community. 

The ODESA EXPO 2030 master plan proposal is available at: