Urban Inquiries

Ahead of the Hong Kong & Shenzhen Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture  – a multi-city event focused on showcasing urban and architectural developments shaping Hong Kong and neighbouring Shenzhen – we catch up with curators Sarah Lee and Yutaka Yano to see what’s in store.

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Why do you think this event is so important to Hong Kong? We believe the Hong Kong edition of the Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (UABBHK) is an important cultural event to reassess our city through engagement and dialogue with the local community while inviting international participants to create a broader perspective.

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How did you choose the participants? The content of UABBHK consists of exhibitors that were selected from entries submitted in response to an open call. Most of the finalists were local and around a third were below the age of forty, setting the framework for the exhibition to specifically capture the visions of the younger generation of Hong Kong, as they will be responsible for the city of the future.

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What would you like visitors to take away from the biennale? The aim of Biennale is to encourage dialogue about the future of our city. We wanted UABHHK to specifically initiate discussions about what each of us as individuals can do to contribute towards our city’s future. We would also like to provide an opportunity for the younger generation to think seriously about the challenges ahead.

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“Living culture” is the theme of this year’s biennale – what’s one neighbourhood in Hong Kong that captures this? Because of where we live and work, our lives revolve around Quarry Bay, which over the last 40 years has transformed from an industrial dockyard to a mixture of office complexes and residential and commercial developments located between the natural hill backdrop and the harbour. We enjoy hearing our older neighbours sharing their story of how the area used to be in contrast to what it’s like today. Like many other places in Hong Kong, we still see rapid urban transformation, with many new developments which continue to transform the characteristics of Quarry Bay. The people and communities evolve at the same time.

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What would you like to see more of in Hong Kong in terms of urban planning and architecture?We love Hong Kong, the city we have come to call our home after having lived here for many years. I think the richness of the city in many ways is initiated by the dynamic urban transformation in the past 50 years. For Hong Kong, we think continuous transformation of the city is key but perhaps we also need to rethink how to preserve our heritage at the same time.

The Hong Kong & Shenzhen Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture runs from 11 December till 28 February, 2016 at various locations including Kowloon Park and Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre.