Expo 2000 changed how Expos address their theme. Unlike previous Expos that focused on present advances in science and technology, EXPO 2000 focused more on developing and presenting solutions for the future. To do that, it introduced the Thematic Areas, which have become a key feature of World Expos ever since. Before Hanover, thematic pavilions existed but were spread throughout the Expo sites. Expo 2000 grouped them in one location, thus allowing visitors to understand the global scope of the Expo theme and its future perspectives. The thematic areas were dedicated to the Future of Labour, Environment, Health and Nutrition.
Following the 1994 resolution of the BIE that stated Expos must tackle the challenge of environmental protection, Expo 2000 wrote « The Hannover Principles » : a set of guidelines to create a site as sustainable as possible. Participants therefore had to consider the environmental and social impact of their pavilion and their potential for re-use after the Expo. This is key to Expos today.
The mission of Expos is to be international dialogue platforms. Expo Hanover 2000 embraced this objective by creating the "Global House" and the "Global Dialogue". The latter was a series of ten 3-day debates on major issues such as health, labour, technologies, social and environmental responsibility, or culture. Launched in collaboration with 60 institutions and organisations from all over the world, the debates brought together top scientists, economic and political stakeholders, NGO representatives as well as a younger public, between 19 and 28 years old. The goal was to create a 10 point program for a more sustainable future. Along those lines, the "Global House" aimed at showing the benefits of international cooperation though an exhibition of 100 projects from 50 countries that showcased ways to ensure a harmonious co-existence between Man, Technology and Nature.
This sustainable approach led to many very interesting pavilions. One of the noteworthy examples was the Venezuelan Pavilion that was constructed with no waste and was completely re-usable. Based on the concept of tensegrity, the building opened and closed like a flower. The flower petals were positioned according to the weather, to shade, keep dry or allow sun to shine on the pavilion. Another good example is the Pavilion of Japan designed by Otto Frei. The pavilion was a curvy tunnel built almost entirely of paper.
For Expo 2000, an entirely new railway station was constructed some 500 metres west of the fairground, a new network of urban roads was created, the tram network was extended and a third terminal was constructed at the city airport. Furthermore, the Expo allowed the globalization of the Deutsche Messe AG, the company in charge of the event.