1st Edition

Curated in China Manipulating the City through the Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture

By Monica Naso Copyright 2024
    254 Pages 50 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Curated in China: Manipulating the City through the Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture provides an in-depth observation of an architecture and urbanism exhibition with transformative objectives. It uses simultaneous narratives to explore scales and perspectives and the layered spatial and political agency that an ephemeral event – the Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture – has gradually established in the city between 2005 and 2019.

    Encapsulating Shenzhen’s ambitions as a world-class city, the Biennale aims to actively build a relationship between architecture and socio-spatial issues as a device to not only investigate the city’s hypertrophic development, but also manipulate its urban fabric. The spaces transformed by the exhibition convey visual delight and urban extravaganza; they also embody the interlocking of multiple (intellectual, corporate and institutional) actors who exploit the event in the pursuit of different goals. Everybody strolls around and enjoys the spectacle set up in the allegedly pacifying space of the exhibition; nevertheless, what lies behind – and beyond – the event?

    By addressing students and scholars in the fields of architecture and urban space, the book unpacks the layered frictions between a temporary event’s narrative apparatus and its physical outcomes, questioning the relationship between biennials as theoretical platforms and their agency in real urban spaces.

    List of figures

    Foreword by Christoph Lindner


    List of acronyms

    Introduction: Events and the city

    1   Framing the Shenzhen Biennale

    2   The Biennale as an urban device

    3   Post-industrial legacy

    4   Urban villages

    5   The Central Business District

    Conclusion: Events as City 

    Afterword by Huang Weiwen



    Monica Naso is an architect and Ph.D. holder. As a member of the China Room research group (Politecnico di Torino), she has taken part in international research & design projects. She was part of the curatorial team of the 2019 Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture. Monica is currently a researcher and a teaching assistant at the Politecnico di Torino.