First Press Conference of 2019 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism \Architecture (Shenzhen) Held in Shenzhen


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 April 1, 2019, Shenzhen - On the afternoon of April 1, 2019, the first press conference of 2019 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (Shenzhen) (UABB (Shenzhen)) was held at the press conference room of Shenzhen Municipal Government. Xu Songming, Deputy Director of the Organizing Committee and Deputy Secretary General of Shenzhen Municipal Government, Ding Qiang, Secretary General of the Organizing Committee and Deputy Director General of Planning and Natural Resources Bureau of Shenzhen Municipality, Dong Shan, Director General of Futian District Bureau of Culture, Radio, Television, Tourism and Sports, the Curatorial Team as well as representatives of the Organizing Committee members were present at the press conference.


福田区文化广电旅游体育局局长董姗,深双学委会主任委员张宇星,深双组委会秘书长、深圳市规划和自然资源局副局长丁强,深双组委会副主任、深圳市政府副秘书长徐松明,2019深双总策展人卡洛·拉蒂(Carlo Ratti)、孟建民和法比奥·卡瓦卢奇(Fabio Cavallucci).jpg

▲From left to right: Dong Shan, Director General of Futian District Bureau of Culture, Radio, Television, Tourism and Sports, Zhang Yuxing, Chairman of 2019 UABB Academic Commitee, Ding Qiang, Secretary General of the Organizing Committee and Deputy Director General of Planning and Natural Resources Bureau of Shenzhen Municipality,Xu Songming, Deputy Director of the Organizing Committee and Deputy Secretary General of Shenzhen Municipal Government, Carlo Ratti, Meng Jianmin, Fabio Cavallucci, the team of Chief Curators of 2019 UABB (Shenzhen).

The press conference officially announced that the theme of 2019 UABB (Shenzhen) is "Urban Interactions". The team of Chief Curators includes Architect and Director of MIT Senseable City Lab Carlo Ratti, CAE Academician Meng Jianmin and famous curator and art critic Fabio Cavallucci. The exhibition consists of two sections, namely "Eyes of the City" and "Ascending City", which will explore the evolving relationship between urban space and technological innovation from different perspectives. The exhibition is scheduled to open at the Futian Railway Station and the surrounding areas, the Main Venue, in Shenzhen in December 2019. At the same time, several sub-venues will be set up in other districts of the city to interconnect with the Main Venue, completing an organically interactive network throughout the city.


▲Xu Songming, Deputy Director of the Organizing Committee and Deputy Secretary General of Shenzhen Municipal Government

2019深双总策展人卡洛·拉蒂(Carlo Ratti)、孟建民和法比奥·卡瓦卢奇(Fabio Cavallucci)介绍策展方案.jpg

▲Carlo Ratti, Meng Jianmin, Fabio Cavallucci, the team of Chief Curators of 2019 UABB (Shenzhen)


▲press conference

Urban Interactions: Opening up the Infinite Possibilities of Future Cities


“沟通纽约”图解纽约与全球电话、IP交流项目© MIT Senseable City Lab.jpg

▲New York Talk Exchange, a project mapping phone connections all around the world  © MIT Senseable City Lab

With the development of intensified global connectivity and regional integration, cities can no longer remain isolated or develop in one-single direction. On the contrary, the interactions and engagements between cities, city and inhabitant, and between urban dwellers become common phenomena. The significance of such interactions lies not only in its innovative application value, but also in the fact that it has triggered multilevel philosophical reflection. The city itself is a huge and complex interactive system. With the introduction of new technologies such as ultra-high-speed inter-city railway, big data, cloud computing, Internet of things, AI, etc., more and more unprecedented issues are popping up. The new relationships derived from virtual-real space, HCI and cross-regional mega-city community will certainly turn into a new forefront that human beings are to face in the future.


新的设计维度在物理层和数字层之间诞生 © MIT Senseable City Lab.JPG

▲A new design dimension is born, at the crossroads between physical and digital layers © MIT Senseable City Lab

As a pair of the most interesting "interactive cities" within Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), what kind of new relationship will be iterated between Shenzhen and Hong Kong? This is one of the questions to be studied in this exhibition. Starting from GBA, it can be further extended to the global cyberspace, asking how technological innovation and urban space are going to deeply entangle with each other. However, we are curious about the unexpected life scenarios to be generated from such new interactions between cities. This edition of UABB, coincided with the important stage of implementing GBA strategy in an all-round way, exactly echoes the current focus of urban development in terms of the theme and venues.


本届主展场福田高铁站及周边地区 © UABB.jpg

▲Main venue Futian railway station and surrounding area © UABB

Two Paralleling Sections Initiate Cross-disciplinary Interaction through Science and Technology


2019 UABB主题及两大板块 © UABB.jpg

▲Theme and Sections of 2019 UABB © UABB

The "Eyes of the City" section is jointly curated by Carlo Ratti and the South China - Torino Lab (formed by South China University of Technology and Politecnico di Torino). It aims to investigate how Artificial Intelligence is going to impact architecture as well as people’s daily life in the city. Thanks to the most recent advances in digital technologies, deep learning and imaging, we are about to reach an unprecedented scenario. Architectural space is acquiring the full ability to “see”, with any room, street or shop in the city being potentially able to autonomously respond to one’s presence. The exhibition will collect design hypotheses and suggestions – imaginative, ironic, practical, visionary – so as to reflect on what kind of digitally-augmented city we want to build tomorrow.


▲Roboat, a project by MIT and AMS prototyping an use of self-driving boats in the canals of Amsterdam ©  MIT and AMS

▲Using big data to understand urban phenomena - from people’s movements to social dynamics © MIT Senseable City Lab

The show will explore how the “Eyes of the City” scenario also brings us to a new understanding of issues such as the distinction between private and public space, the relation between creativity and increasing automation, the role of Big Data, and the ways in which technology can be re-appropriated by individuals and communities. Following the principle of an "open-source curatorship", Carlo Ratti and the South China-Torino Lab team are involving a group of Foundational Contributors to start a public discussion on the future of the digitally-augmented City. Among the confirmed guests there are authoritative architects, designers and thinkers such as Yung-Ho Chang, Vicente Guallart, Mitchell Joachim, Ying Long, Geoff Manaugh, Antoine Picon, Daan Roosegaarde, Liam Young, Philip F. Yuan. The core exhibition of this section will include projects selected through an international Open Call targeted at three groups of participants: architects, designers and artists; research centers and universities; writers, philosophers and scholars. The Open Call starts on April 1st and will last until May 31st, 2019.



▲Framework of Eyes of the City Section

The “Ascending City” section is curated by the team headed by Meng Jianmin and Fabio Cavallucci, bringing together a number of prestige architects, artists, filmmakers, writers and museum advisors, as well as interdisciplinary professionals. Dimensional ascent and descent, concepts in science fiction, were adopted by the curatorial team as a very important methodology. Here, cities are more than the physical facilities of high-rise buildings; their basic forms are ascending to higher dimensions. After this dimensional ascent, cities will become more intelligent, humanistic, inclusive, convenient and reliable.


城市是社会的再现,是新兴科技和城市居民之间关系的体现 © “城市升维”板块策展团队.jpg

▲The city is an expression of society, it reflects on relations with new technologies and the huge changes they produce on issues related to individual citizenship and individual ident ©Ascending City  Section

"Ascending City" consists of 3 sub-sections, “Empowering Citizens in Progressive Cities", "Urban Alchemists" and "Daily Sci-Fi", corresponding to the viewpoints of the city’s users, creators and visionary thinkers respectively. The first perspective is that of ordinary inhabitants, a bottom-up view; the second perspective is a macro-vision of a city, a top-down view; the third perspective tries to integrate the real and virtual worlds so as to maximize the application of advanced technologies. Liu Cixin, a sci-fi writer and author of The Three-Body Problem, Cai Guo-Qiang, a contemporary artist, and Wlodek Goldkorn, a Polish writer, served as academic consultants and will be specially involved in 2019 UABB (Shenzhen).


建筑师、艺术家和城市规划者记录和反应了城市变革 © “城市升维”板块策展团队板块策展团队©”城市升维“板块策展团队.jpg

▲Architects, artists and urbanists document and reflect on changes in cities©Ascending City  Section

▲The sub-section “Daily Sci-fi” will be the meeting point between the desire to shape futuristic aesthetics embodied by cities projected and created in outer space and higher dimension©Ascending City  Section

In addition, the curatorial team will present a series of programs, such as Virtual Biennale, a Future City Fantasy, a Future City Interview Documentary, Architectural Sci-Tech Explorers, a Sci-Fi Art Exhibition, and Magic Art Cube, to fully and comprehensively explore the themes in "Ascending City".

Main Venue—A Hub Connecting Two Super Cities



▲Main venue Futian railway station and surrounding area

Main venue of this UABB is located in Futian Railway Station and surrounding area. Futian Station is the first integrated underground project in China that introduces high-speed railway into the city center, and also an underground railway station with the fastest train speed in the world. It is the most important transportation hub connecting Shenzhen and Hong Kong. With the Hong Kong section of Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong High-speed Railway inaugurated in September 2018, the distance between the two super urban centers, i.e., Futian and West Kowloon, has been shortened to less than 15 minutes.


福田高铁站1 © UABB.jpg

▲Futian railway station  © UABB

Futian CBD, where the high-speed railway station is located, served as the main venue for the 3rd and 4th editions of UABB (Shenzhen) in 2009 and 2011 respectively. Nowadays when it is about to host a third Biennale, the latter is no longer a mere art event that means to activate some specific physical spaces, but a brainstorming that inspires more possibilities and creativity for future cities and sets free people's imagination. The space in and around the station will be re-designed and transformed according to the theme of “Urban Interactions,” to make the venue a hub connecting urban central areas. The positive synergy and connectivity resulting from venue transformation will also continue after the Biennale. With UABB, we look forward to introducing some urban experience at Futian Railway Station, the hinterland of the city. Thanks to the convenient high-speed railway transportation of Shenzhen and Hong Kong, Futian will give full play to its leading role as a central urban area, tap the potential of cooperation in the GBA, and facilitate more frequent interactions and exchanges in the bay area.


福田高铁站2 © UABB.jpg

▲Futian railway station  © UABB

Sub-venues—City-wide Interaction with Site-specific Features


As an extension of this Biennale, sub-venues will present local practices and are organized by district governments with reference to the framework and operation mode of the main exhibition. They will reflect the main theme of this Biennale, facilitate exchanges and showcase the typical local features of the district. 2017 UABB (Shenzhen) cultivated 5 sub-venues, and with growing significance, so far this UABB has nailed down 9 sub-venues in districts of Yantian, Bao’an, Longgang, Longhua, Guangming, Dapeng New District and Qianhai Free Trade Zone respectively.



▲9 Sub-venues © UABB

Yantian Sub-venue is located in Sha Tau Kok Bonded Zone, the earliest bonded zone in China. With a history of nearly 28 years, the Bonded Zone is now in urgent need of transformation and upgrading. As a sub-venue of this UABB, it will be activated for reuse and attract more innovative industries. Given its history and the impact of modern S&T, it will focus on "Bonded +" industry to promote the revitalization of new S&T industries in the region.


Bao’an will set 2 Sub-venues in Longwangmiao Industrial Zone and Bao’an International Art Design Center. Longwangmiao Industrial Zone, with generous exhibition space, will be the main sub-venue for permanent use upon completion. It will interact with “Airport + Exhibition Center” as a new cultural engine of the district. The International Art Design Center, with a wide variety of functions, can be interconnected to the International Art Design Center and Bay Area Design Academy as they share the same location.


Longgang Sub-venue is located in Software Town of Shenzhen Universiade. Themed on “Leading innovative development of the Bay Area”, the sub-venue will utilize the open outdoor square of the Software Town and link up 8 fun interior exhibition halls of 200 to 300 square meters into an innovative development axis in Longgang District, showcasing the strength of Longgang District in S&T innovation.


Longhua Sub-venue also has 2 sub-venues, in the historical Guanlan Market and Shangwei Art Village respectively. The curator of Guanlan Market will, with reference to the macro context of this Biennale and the Guanlan Market Renewal Plan, will invite renowned local and international academic institutions, scholars and artists to conduct focused studies on such historical remains as the Hakka stilt house with wooden-eave corridor, wood and brick constructed arcade, Hakka watchtower, ancient temple, warehouse and market, etc., presenting both local context and international vision through a combined approach of historical literature and S&T and artistic innovation. Shangwei Village, one of the few existing ancient villages in Shenzhen, will be the sub-venue of the Biennale for a second time. The Biennale will help make the art events part of the villagers’ daily life and shape up an international art community that further integrates local and global cultures. 


Guangming Sub-venue is located in Guangming Cloud Valley. Based on the existing green and ecological urban development concept of the District, the Sub-venue is to analyze the future development of global cities and relevant models, summarizes experience of the on-going national science center, i.e., Guangming Science City, Shenzhen, and connect the district’s urban construction with future cities. The goal is to offer intellectual support for the district to become an example of new urban center in the bay area in the future.


Dapeng Sub-venue is located in Dapeng Fortress. Established in the 27th year of the Hongwu Reign during the Ming Dynasty (1394 A.D.), Dapeng Fortress has a history of more than 600 years. Well preserved to this day, it is the historical site of largest area and highest class in Shenzhen. Representatives of well-known architects, planners, artists and designers will be invited to explore into the public and cultural spaces in Dapeng Fortress by using or upgrading the public building and landscape spaces in view of the local culture, thus realize connectivity and interaction.


Qianhai Sub-venue starts from Qianhai Stone Park and extends to the public spaces of Kerry Center and Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Dreamworks etc. The sub-venue will center on synergy in the bay area, cooperation between Shenzhen and Hong Kong, dynamism and diversity. Architects, artists, creative professionals, and business representatives from Qianhai will be invited to participate in the exhibition. The Sub-venue is expected to further contribute to the Shenzhen-Hong Kong cultural exchanges and cooperation platform and accelerate the urban space research and S&T innovation in Qianhai.

UABB School— An Urban Classroom for the People


During the nearly three-month exhibition period, UABB’s featured public learning brand UABB School will offer citizens a series of fascinating free courses and activities based on the theme of Urban Interactions, including forums, lectures, workshops, dramas, musical performances and market fairs etc. This unconventional cross-disciplinary learning platform will enable an alternative way of participation, learning, understanding and communication. It re-interprets the abstract theories and concepts, attracting people of different age and background. Anyone, regardless of their professions as architects, planners, artists or culture-focused creative professionals, S&T innovators, colleges teachers and students, families or ordinary people, will find something meaningful to learn and enjoy themselves. These activities will enable them to re-think about the past, present and future of the city they live in.


The curatorial team will also continue their reflection on the exhibition through UABB School. It is worth mentioning that the project named GAB Academy, curated by Polytechnic Institute of Milan, will be incorporated as part of 2019 UABB School. In the project, domestic and international scholars and teachers and students from major colleges and universities of architecture will be gathered to participate in a series of seminars and workshops. Centering on the context of urban clusters in GBA, they will highlight the integration and interaction of information and communication technology with traditional cultural identity, and work out more solutions to address issues arising from globalization.


丰富多彩的学堂活动1 © UABB.jpg

丰富多彩的学堂活动2 © UABB.jpg

▲A variety of UABB School activity 2 © UABB

Interaction, as an important methodology of this Biennale, is profoundly embodied in the concept, composition and presentation of the exhibition. Compared with the previous editions, this Biennale will mark a pivotal point in UABB’s history, as it involves the widest scope of disciplines and the most diverse perspectives; and for the first time ever, architecture, urban planning, S&T, art, science fiction and literature etc. are integrated into a platform where practice and imagination join hands, reality and the virtual world overlap, and present and future are interconnected. This Biennale is expected to embrace a burst of future-oriented innovative power inherently rooted in itself. Let’s meet in this December for 2019 UABB (Shenzhen) which aims to explore new forms for people to interact with spaces, technologies and cities, propel the urban space research into a broader S&T innovation field and inspire infinite exploration and imagination about future cities and life!




Theme: Urban Interactions


Main Venue: Futian Railway Station and surrounding area


Time: December, 2019 - March, 2020 (TBD)


Sub-Venues: Sha Tau Kok Bonded Zone of Yantian District, Longwangmiao Industrial Zone of Bao’an District, Bao’an International Art Design Center, Software Town of Shenzhen Universiade of Longgang District, the historical Guanlan Market of Longhua District, Shangwei Art Village of Longhua District, Guangming Cloud Valley, Dapeng Fortress and Qianhai free trade zone





Theme: Urban Interactions


Chief Curators: Carlo Ratti, Meng Jianmin, Fabio Cavallucci


Academic Curator: South China-Torino Lab (SCUT - Sun Yimin, Politecnico di Torino - Michele Bonino)


Co-Curator: Science and Human Imagination Center of Southern University of Science and Technology (Wu Yan)


Executive Curators: Daniele Belleri [CRA], Edoardo Bruno, Chen Qiufan, Manuela Lietti, Wang Kuan, Xu Haohao, Zhang Li


Curator of GBA Academy: Politecnico di Milano (Adalberto Del Bo)



·Eyes of The City Section


Chief Curator: Carlo Ratti

Academic Curator: South China - Torino Lab (SCUT - Sun Yimin, Politecnico di Torino - Michele Bonino)

Executive Curators: Daniele Belleri [CRA], Edoardo Bruno, Xu Haohao


Curator of GBA Academy: Politecnico di Milano (Adalberto Del Bo)



·Ascending City Section


Chief Curators: Meng Jianmin, Fabio Cavallucci

Co-Curator: Science and Human Imagination Center of Southern University of Science and Technology (Wu Yan)

Executive Curators: Chen Qiufan, Manuela Lietti, Wang Kuan, Zhang Li


About UABB


Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (UABB) is currently the only biennial exhibition in the world that is based exclusively on the set themes of URBANISM AND URBANIZATION. Co-organized by the two neighboring and closely interacting cities of Shenzhen and Hong Kong, UABB situates itself within the regional context of the rapidly urbanizing Pearl River Delta, concerns itself with globally common urban issues, extensively communicates and interacts with the wider public, is presented using expressions of contemporary visual culture, and engages in international and avant-garde dimensions as well as discourses of public interest.