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Report from Cities: Conflicts of an Urban Age

Spezielles Projekt
Architekturbiennale Venedig 2016

Auf der Basis einer Vereinbarung zwischen La Biennale di Venezia und der London School of Economics Cities, mit Blick auf die United Nations Habitat III

Kurator: Ricky Burdett

Team des Kurators:
Aron Bohmann, Recherche (LSE Cities)
Peter Griffiths, Managing Editor (LSE Cities)
Emily Cruz, Projektmanagerin (LSE Cities)

Realisiert von La Biennale di Venezia

Sale d'Armi C, Arsenale

Responding to Alejandro Aravena's call-to-arms on the battle for a better built environment, the exhibition provides a view from the front-line of cities. Like national pavilions that describe the 'fight they face at home', the cities pavilion will provide the visitor to the Biennale Architettura with insights on the major trends and conflicts experienced today in the urban realm.

Exponential growth, erosion of public space, increasing inequality, rampant informalisation and environmental degradation are the major impacts of a period of intense urbanisation. The speed and scale of this transformation is unprecedented. Every hour more than 50 new residents are added to the populations of Kinshasa, Dhakka or Delhi. Cities in Asia, Africa and Latin America have sprawled endlessly across entire regions and their populations have grown to the size of nations.

The exhibition will focus on how cities have changed over time, at two different time horizons: over a 25-year time frame (since the 1990s) and over a 100-year time frame (19th/20th century). This double time reference will inform the visitor of the immediacy of contemporary urbanisation and provide a context for understanding the benefits of well-considered urban planning and design on achieving more equitable and balanced cities.

In October 2016 the United Nations is hosting Habitat III, a major global event held every 20 years, which will focus on Sustainable Urban Development. This exhibition is being designed to inform the debate that will contribute to shaping a New Urban Agenda for future generations of urban leaders, policymakers and designers.

The exhibition will address the following three issues:
1) how have cities transformed over the last 25 years
2) what are the effects on public space, inequality and informality
3) which models of urban planning demonstrate resilience over time

The exhibition will cover the following areas:
- General introduction to key urban trends in 21st century
- Identification of typologies of urbanisation
- 'wall of shame' - selected images of negative urbanisation
- Film-based animations and photography of urban transformations in cities from Africa, Asia, Latin America, North America and Europe.
- Statistics and analysis of spatial, social and environmental data focussing on public space, inequality and informality
- Examples of best practice at macro and micro-scale of urban intervention
- Recommendations for sustainable urbanism

Featured cities will include:

Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) 3.300,000 - 81% growth since 1990
Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo) 12,000,000 - 215% growth since 1990
Lagos (Nigeria) 21,000,000 - 176% growth since 1990
Delhi (India) 25,000,000 - 164% growth since 1990
Manila (Philippines) 13,000,000 - 62% growth since 1990
Dhakka (Bangladesh) 18,000,000 - 166% growth since 1990
Mexico City (Mexico) 21,000,000 - 34% growth since 1990
Sao Paulo (Brazil) 21,000,000 - 42% growth since 1990
New York (USA) 19,000,000 - 16% growth since 1990
Los Angeles (USA) 12,300,000 - 13% growth since 1990
London (UK) 10,000,000 - 28% growth since 1990
Moscow (Russia) 12,100,000 - 35% growth since 1990

The exhibition is part of the Urban Age programme jointly organised by the London School of Economics and the Alfred Herrhausen Society.


LSE Cities is an international centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science that carries out research, conferences, education and outreach activities in London and abroad. Its mission is to study how people and cities interact in a rapidly urbanising world, focusing on how the physical form and design of cities impacts on society, culture and the environment. It hosts the annual Urban Age conference jointly organised with Deutsche Bank's Alfred Herrhausen Society, which will be held on 16-17 July in Venice as part of the 15th International Architecture Exhibition -La Biennale di Venezia.


Habitat III is the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development. It will be held on 17-20 October 2016, in Quito, Ecuador. This major global event is convened by the United Nations General Assembly and held every 20 years. Habitat III will be one of the first UN global summits after the adoption of the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda. It offers a unique opportunity to discuss the important challenge of how cities, towns and villages are planned and managed, in order to ensure sustainable development, and hence shape the implementation of new global development and climate change goals. The Conference will result in a concise, focused, forward-looking and action-oriented New Urban Agenda. (www.habitat3.org)



Ricky Burdett

Professor of Urban Studies, and director of LSE Cities and the Urban Age Programme. His research interests focus on the interactions between the physical and social worlds in the contemporary city and how urbanisation affects social and environmental sustainability. In addition to his roles at LSE, Professor Burdett has been Global Distinguished Professor at New York University and Visiting Professor in Urban Planning and Design in the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. He was a member of the UK Government's Independent Airports Commission and sits on the Council of the Royal College of Art in London and New York's Regional Plan Association's international advisory panel. He has been involved in regeneration projects across Europe and was Chief Adviser on Architecture and Urbanism for the London 2012 Olympics and architectural adviser to the Mayor of London from 2001 to 2006. He was a judge in the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities initiative and the Hurricane Sandy Regional Planning and Design Competition organised by US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Professor Burdett was also a member of the Urban Task Force which produced a major report for the UK government on the future of English cities. He is co-editor of The Endless City (2007), Living in the Endless City (2011) and Transforming Urban Economies (2013). He was Director of the 10th International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia in 2006 and curator of the Global Cities exhibition at Tate Modern in London in 2007.


(Presseinformation, La Biennale di Venezia) 

15. Internationale Architekturausstellung
La Biennale di Venezia

28. Mai - 27. November 2016

Künstlerischer Leiter: Alejandro Aravena

Titel: Reporting from the Front


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