Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (UABB) is currently the only biennial exhibition in the world that is based exclusively on the set themes of URBANISM AND URBANIZATION. Co-organized by the two neighboring and closely interacting cities of Shenzhen and Hong Kong, UABB situates itself within the regional context of the rapidly urbanizing Pearl River Delta, concerns itself with globally common urban issues, extensively communicates and interacts with the wider public, is presented using expressions of contemporary visual culture, and engages in international and avant-garde dimensions as well as discourses of public interest.


Initiated by Shenzhen in 2005 and joined by the adjacent city Hong Kong in 2007, the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (hereinafter referred to as UABB) has evolved into a unique breed among its kind that is held and interacted between twin cities: a Bi-City Biennale. UABB was originally conceived by the urban planning department of Shenzhen Municipal Government for the purpose of constructing a more influential, more professional and more interactive exhibition. Although UABB embraces the general name and system of Biennale in arts and architecture exhibition, its intention is divergent from being merely an architecture showcase, but focusing on the macroscopic background of unprecedented rapid urbanization in China and issues of cities and urbanization (In the name of UABB, "Urbanism\Architecture" implies the idea that architecture belongs to cities and the discussions should be made under the context of cities). Already held in Shenzhen and Hong Kong for the eighth time, UABB is the only international biennale that sets "urban & urbanization" as its permanent theme. With about 1500 pieces of excellent exhibits and 950 activities, UABB Shenzhen has attracted over 1.55 million visitors worldwide. UABB takes full advantage of multi-media, such as design, image, installations, drama, public art, monographic study and discussion, and reveals different aspects of the progress of urbanization and human habitation of Shenzhen, Hong Kong, China and worldwide.


Different from other exhibitions and expositions, UABB focuses devotedly on the pioneering and conceptual issues of urban & architecture. In retrospection of the 8 editions of UABB(SZ), the focal point of works and discussions has been set on themes such as Urban Village & Spontaneous City, City of Expiration & Regeneration, Public Space, Urban-rural Relationship& agriculture, Border/Edge, and the relationship between urban space and technology. The consequent explorations inspired researches, ideas and discussions already have significant impacts and will keep influencing on Shenzhen, a city self-positioned with the concept of “pioneer". The twin city Hong Kong, as the joint-host of the last six editions of UABB, presented preeminent works from local and international designers in creative industry, responded to the local issues and challenged in urbanization, and broadened the horizon of general public to cutting-edge ideas of architecture and urban planning.


To the twin cities Shenzhen and Hong Kong, UABB is like a mineral deposit waiting for further exploration, which plays a decisive role in constructing a win-win situation for the twin cities, in creating industrial upgrade of the Pearl River Delta Region, in developing satellite cities and inter-cooperation between regions, and in building sustainable cities for the future world. The future of UABB and the interactions between cities are promising and unlimited.

Exhibition Structure

Main Exhibition + Nation/City Pavilions + Sponsor Pavilions+ Collateral Exhibitions + UABB School (Public Educational Programs) Conceived by the curator and curatorial team, the Main Exhibition is centered on the theme yet divergent to embrace multi-media presentation. The Invitational Exhibition (National Pavilions) will invite prestigious cultural institutions/organizations around the world to participate in the Biennale. Applicants for Collateral Exhibitions/Events can tailor an original exhibition under the theme or apply with an established exhibition in accordance with the theme. Collateral Exhibitions/Events are reviewed and recommended by the Academic Committee, with final approval by the (Chief) Curator and Organizing Committee.UABB(SZ) will set up UABB School to integrate resources and further strengthen the role of education. The School will hold a series of programs/activities for citizens during the exhibition, and all courses/activities are open to citizens for free.

UABB History

2005 ( 1st ) Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture

2005 展场-OCAT已开展馆及南侧多层厂房.jpg

Exhibition Theme:City, Open Door!

Exhibition Period:December 10th 2005 – March 10th 2006

Venue:OCT Contemporary Art Terminal   ( South area of OCT-LOFT ), Shenzhen

Chief Curator:Yung Ho CHANG  

The first Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture was held in the OCT-LOFT area, which was renovated from a 12,000 square meters of 1980s industrial factory warehouses within an office and housing development.The exhibition provided various point of views to explore and understand urbanization and architecture-related humanity and sociology, and also emphasized the overall harmony and sustainability of architecture development and urbanization.Furthermore, the special phenomenon and striking issues about urban villages were observed and studied in the biennale.



2007 ( 2nd ) Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture ( Shenzhen ) 

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Exhibition Theme:City of Expiration and Regeneration

Exhibition Period:December 8th 2007 – March 9th 2008

Venue:North area of OCT-LOFT, Shenzhen

Chief Curator:MA Qingyun 

The biennale aimed to explore and understand the expiration, aging and regeneration issues of urban architecture. As a turning point, it became a bi-city biennale from this edition. Since the two cities of Shenzhen and Hong Kong shared a neighboring location and salience of urban issues, the joint biennale was proposed to be organized as "one theme, two sites".



2009 ( 3rd ) Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture ( Shenzhen )

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Exhibition Theme:City Mobilization

Exhibition Period:December 6th, 2009 – January 23th, 2010

Main Venue:Shenzhen Civic Square

Sub Venues:Shenzhen Bay Avenue and Yitian Holiday Plaza

Chief Curator:OU Ning  

The 2009 Biennale set up theme of "City Mobilization" aiming to test the possibility of large-scale, effective social mobilization in an age that lacks centralized force, spiritual solidarity and practical organization, and to create a top biennale which was also accessible for all participation.



2011 ( 4th ) Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture ( Shenzhen )

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Exhibition Theme:Architecture creates cities. Cities create architecture.

Exhibition Period:December 8th, 2011 – February 19th, 2012

Main Venue:Shenzhen Civic Square and OCT-LOFT

Chief Curator:Terence Riley 

Mr. Terence Riley was the first non-Chinese curator for the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture(Shenzhen). His influence and international recognition has contributed to the success of the biennale and helped attract worldwide attention. The exhibition theme portrayed the endless interaction between architecture and cities, and provoked an in-depth discussion on sustainability and urban vitality.The strong architectural feature and highly professional and international performance of this biennale has won acclaim in and out the industry.



2013 ( 5th ) Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture ( Shenzhen )

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Exhibition Theme:Urban Border

Exhibition Period:December 6th, 2013 – February 28th, 2014

Venue:Shekou Industrial Zone, Nanshan District, Shenzhen

Venue A:Value Factory ( former Guangdong Float Glass Factory )

Venue B:Border Warehouse ( the Old Warehouse at Shekou FerryTerminal )

Curator / Creative Director:Ole Bouman

Curators / Academic Directors:Li Xiangning + Jeffrey Johnson

The exhibition theme of "Urban Border" featured the distinctions of Shenzhen and Hong Kong, and the biennale has reclaimed two neglected industrial sites in the Shekou, Nanshan District of Shenzhen, transforming them into cutting-edge exhibition spaces.With highly international participation and public interaction, the biennale presented exhibitions and academic forums as well as setting a public education platform. The new program "UABB School" has integrated resources and held a series of free programs/activities for citizens during the exhibition.The strong architectural feature and highly professional and international performance of this biennale has won acclaim in and out the industry. 

2015 ( 6th ) Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture ( Shenzhen )

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Exhibition Theme:Re-Living The City

Exhibition Period:December 4th, 2015 – February 28th, 2016

Main Venue:Shekou·DaCheng Flour Factory and NO.8 Warehouse

Sub-Venue:Longgang District·Xipu New Residence

Main Venue Curatorial Team:Aaron Betsky/Alfredo Brillembourg/Hubert Klumpner/Doreen Heng Liu

Sub-Venue Curatorial Team:Yong Yang/See You Tomorrow

With the theme of “Re-Living the City”, the 6th edition of UABB aims to create a better future, advocates the reusing, rethinking and re-imagining of the current state of architecture and the city, reshaping people's daily life through design. The exhibition pays attention to the city itself, and cares about people’s lives in it.

2017 ( 7th ) Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture ( Shenzhen )

2017 展场-南头古城厂房展区及古城展区航拍....jpg

Exhibition Theme: Cities, Grow in Difference

Exhibition Period: December 15th, 2017 – March 17th, 2018

Main Venue: Nantou Old Town

Sub-Venue: Luohu, Yantian, Longhua Shangwei, Longhua Dalang, Guangming New District

Main Venue Curatorial Team: Hou Hanru, Liu Xiaodu, Meng Yan

From the perspective of urban village, the 2017 biennale explores and reflects on the urban development mode of China within a globalized context, and calls upon a diversified, inclusive, and vibrant urban eco-system. While gathering leading international cutting-edge ideas and local experimental practices, it also interacts with local residents and intervenes in urban regeneration by means of “Urban Curation”, envisioning a global and future-oriented example of coexistence.

2019 ( 8th ) Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture ( Shenzhen )

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Exhibition Theme: Urban Interactions

Exhibition Period: December 22nd, 2019 – April 19th, 2020

Main Venue: Futian Railway Station & Shenzhen Museum of Contemporary Art and Urban Planning

Sub-Venue: Sha Tau Kok Bonded Zone of Yantian District, Bao'an International Art Exhibition Center, Qiaotou Community of Bao’ao District, Ban Xue Gang Hi-Tech Zone of Longgang District, Guanlan Ancient Market of Longgang District, Guangming Cloud Valley, Dapeng Fortress of Dapeng New District, Xichong of Dapeng New District, and Qianhai Cooperation Zone

Main Venue Curatorial Team: Carlo Ratti, MENG Jianmin, Fabio Cavallucci

The theme of 2019 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (Shenzhen) is "Urban Interactions". The exhibition consists of two sections, namely "Eyes of the City" and "Ascending City", which explore the evolving relationship between urban space and technological innovation from different perspectives.