The motto "Cities, Architecture and Society" covers important issues of our civilization. Today, more than half of the world's population lives in cities, Burdett emphasizes, and a hundred years ago there were less than 10% of urban dwellers. The 21st century will be the era of cities, by the middle of it, more than 75% will live there, and a significant part - in megacities with a population of more than 20 million. The trend towards urban sprawl is now observed in Asia, Africa and South America. At the same time, in Europe and North America, the phenomenon of “shrinking cities” has appeared, and their population is decreasing if these cities are not able to transform into “settlements” of the post-industrial era.
The aim of the X Architecture Biennale is to draw public attention to the future of the city as an essential element of human civilization. It is necessary to reconnect the physical component of cities - buildings, squares, streets, i.e., the sphere of activity of architects and urban planners - with their social, cultural and economic structure. To do this, architects should pay more attention to interdisciplinary collaboration.
To demonstrate this, Richard Burdett, who is also the curator of the main exhibition, has placed an exhibition at the Arsenal dedicated to 16 major cities of the world from four continents. These are Barcelona, Berlin, Milan and Turin, London, Cairo, Johannesburg, Istanbul, Mumbai, Shanghai, Tokyo, Caracas, Los Angeles, Mexico City, New York, Sao Paolo.
Everyday life in these metropolitan areas is described through video installations, photographs, 3D projections and a variety of explanatory texts. In addition to information about the social, economic and cultural development of these cities, at the exhibition you can see new architectural and urban planning projects developed for them.
The Pavilion of Italy presents expositions of 13 research institutes from around the world (Berlage Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, London Architectural Foundation, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, OMA / AMO and others). Their presentations are devoted to studies of the relationship between the profession of an architect and social and economic processes. For example, MIT will present the “Rome in Real Time” project, which examines the movement of residents and their use of mobile telephony, depending on the area of the city and the time of day. The central space of the Italian Pavilion will be occupied by an exhibition of photographs of cities prepared by C-Photo Magazine.
More than 20 architectural institutes from Italy and other countries have been invited to take part in the Biennale, and their students' works on the theme “Cities, Architecture and Society” will be exhibited in the Italian Pavilion from 8-19 November 2006 under the title “Learning from the Cities”.
The general exposition will be supplemented by national exhibitions from 50 countries of the world.