Re-Living the City

Re-Living the City: UABB 2015 Catalogue, a richly illustrated book that presents the exhibits and curatorial visions of the 2015 Bi-City Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism (UABB) in Shenzhen, organized around the theme Re-Living the City. It highlights the contributions of dozens of international architects, designers, and artists, and offers 12 probing, original essays.

The projects and essays of UABB 2015, Re-Living the City, criticize the status quo of architecture and urbanism. But they also resist the false dream of designing a perfect city from scratch. Instead, they portray the city as the incremental product of its inhabitants and designers, who provisionally make and remake its fabric through the various means at their disposal. Urbanization in the world’s fastest growing regions today has a dual character: officially-sanctioned, large-scale development shadowed by unregulated or ‘informal’ spaces built by disenfranchised migrants. UABB 2015 operates between these poles, seeking alternative paradigms to generate a more sustainable, equitable, and imaginative urbanity. It calls for clean air and water, but also for wider freedom and power to participate in remaking the city and to express one’s place in it. Through experiments and case studies, the curators have embraced a hands-on role for designers, makers, and ordinary residents alike.

The principal exhibitions of UABB 2015 include: (1) ‘Radical Urbanism’, curated by Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner (Urban-Think Tank), based on the proposition that the city today is more radical than the architects and planners operating within it; (2) ‘Collage City 3D’, curated by Aaron Betsky, in which artists and architects are asked to create adjacent three-dimensional installations to explore the idea of habitable collage as a mode of urban design; and (3) ‘PRD 2.0’, curated by Doreen Heng Liu, focusing on the need for a more balanced approach to urbanism and architecture in the Pearl River Delta region in southeast China. Liu also offers an account of the renovation of the Shenzhen exhibition venue, the former Dacheng Flour Factory complex. In addition, the book presents the ‘Social City’ online platform and exhibition curated by Renny Ramakers, the ‘Maker Maker’ showcase of contemporary craft, and a series of national, regional, and thematic pavilions. Curatorial essays are complemented by guest essays from international critics, researchers, and practitioners.

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