THE Shenzhen part of the 2017 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (UABB) will for the first time be held in four urban villages to explore urban upgrading and renovation and seek practical solutions, the UABB Organizing Committee announced yesterday at a press conference.
As Asia’s most prestigious architecture, design and urban planning event, the biennale will be held from Dec. 15 to March 15, 2018 with its main venue being at Nantou Ancient Town and its three subvenues at Luohu’s Sungang-Qingshuihe area, Yantian’s Dameisha Village and Guangming’s Jingkou Community.
With “Cities, Grow in Difference” as this year’s theme, the biennale stresses “difference,” “diversity,” “openness” and “coexistence.”
“Since the biennale was launched in 2005, it had touched upon urban village issues over the past 12 years, but this year the biennale will focus entirely on urban villages,” said Meng Yan, one of the curators of this year’s biennale. “China’s rapid urbanization has resulted in homogeneity of cities, while distinct historical streets and multicultural communities were demolished. A city is essentially a sophisticated ecosystem, so we don’t want one standard. We want difference and diversity and to coexist in a balanced ecosystem.”
The other two curators are Hou Hanru and Liu Xiaodu. Hou is an internationally renowned critic, curator and consultant for many world museums and galleries, while Liu and Meng are founding partners and top architects of Urbanus. As longtime urbanization experts, Liu and Meng have also served as members of the UABB Academic Committee and participants at previous UABBs.
“In most people’s eyes, urban villages look dirty, crowded and disordered, but they are a hybrid and vibrant social ecosystem, integrating clan culture and migrant culture. We hope to use urban villages to redefine and rethink the structure of a city,” said Liu.
Curator Hou believes that the biennale will prove significant in solving practical problems for the city, so cases of urban village renovations in foreign countries will also be exhibited. He also encourages visitors to present creative and artistic ideas at the biennale.
Launched in Shenzhen in 2005, and later held in Hong Kong in 2007, the biennale had been held in the abandoned industrial areas of OCT-LOFT, the old flour mill and the float glass factory in Shekou. It situates itself within the regional context of the rapidly urbanizing Pearl River Delta region and interacts with the wider public, the event organizer said.