Report from cities: conflicts of an urban age

La Biennale di Venezia - Special Project

Biennale Architettura 2016 - International Exhibition

Biennale Architettura 2016 - International Exhibition
Venezia, Italy

Responding to Alejandro Aravena’s call to arms in the battle for a better built environment, the exhibition provides a view from the frontline of cities. Like national pavilions that describe the “fight they face at home,” The city’s pavilion offers insights into the major consequences of rapid urban growth experienced globally between 1990 and 2015, and the ways in which cities are responding. Exponential growth, the erosion of public space, increasing inequality, rampant informalization, and environmental degradation are major forces with great impact in a period of intense urbanization. The global speed and scale of this transformation is unprecedented. Every hour more than 40 new residents are added to the population of Kinshasa and 70 to Dhaka and Delhi. Cities in Asia and Latin America have sprawled endlessly across entire regions and their populations have grown to the size of nations. Africa is showing a similar trajectory. The exhibition, housed in the Sale d’Armi at the Arsenale, highlights the immediacy of contemporary urbanization challenges and provides a context for understanding the benefits of well-considered urban planning and design in achieving more equitable and balanced cities. In October 2016, the United Nations is hosting Habitat III, a major global event held every 20 years, focusing on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development. This exhibition is 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 includes:
• An Introduction to the key urban trends over the past 25 years;
• Animations and photography of urban transformations in featured cities from Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe;
• Quantitative and qualitative analyses of the changes between 1990 and 2015;
• Recommendations for sustainable urbanism developed from the Alfred Herrhausen Gesellshaft’s Urban Xchanger project;
• Research material from NYU Urban Expansion Program, The Urbanization Project, Stern School of Business, New York University.


  • Title: Report from cities: conflicts of an urban age
  • Creator: La Biennale di Venezia - Special Project
  • Rights: Photo by: Andrea Avezzù; Courtesy la Biennale di Venezia

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