Bat-Yam Biennale / Urban Action
1. The City: home to the majority of the global population
Contemporary social structures have changed dramatically over the past 50 years: the population has escalated, aged and moved from rural locations to urban cores. By 2050, it’s projected that the global population will rise by another 2 billion, and that this growth will occur primarily in urban centers. The implication of such growth is that in the next forty years existing urban infrastructure must literally double in size. It follows that urbanization and urban planning are the central challenges of the next few decades, and will determine humanity’s survival. We must therefore learn, plan, build, operate and maintain our cities more efficiently and with more care.
2. The Challenge: interdisciplinary and multidimensional urban planning
Accelerated urbanization processes, coupled with the city’s increased role in supplying both culture and nature, require us to rethink urban planning. The challenge is to redefine the temporary and the permanent, open and closed spaces, the private and the public. The state of affairs calls for new relationships between residents, entrepreneurs, planners and visitors, and with municipal bodies. Cooperation with various professionals, including artists, architects, individuals in education and other social positions, along with the city’s residents, allows for thinking outside of the "urban box", towards creating a sustainable urban system.
3. Bat-Yam: the [right] location
Bat-Yam, the densest residential city in Israel, has chosen to be a laboratory for creative ideas and alternative actions towards better contemporary urban life. The city’s main attributes, including its density, central location, diverse population and average size, allow Bat-Yam to be a model for local and international cities alike. The significant changes that the city has undergone in the past five years, both in terms of education and public urban fabric, has turned Bat-Yam into a platform for pioneering action, that aims to teach through practice. The individuals leading the city of Bat-Yam share these values, and hope to be an example and a model for positive solutions in the face of rising urban density, viewing it as a catalyst for improving the quality of urban life.
4. Bat-Yam Biennale: Urban Action
Bat-Yam Biennale: Urban Action is a bi-annual international event that focuses on planning and [re]designing urban lifestyles. During the Biennale, Bat-Yam’s outdoor spaces become a laboratory in which new options and uses for urban spaces are examined, as well as introducing tools for sustainable and environmentally friendly living. The artists, architects, education and cultural professionals who participate in the Biennale along with the city’s residents strive to expand the city’s opportunities and improve quality of life. Via the Biennale, the city wishes to strengthen the sense of personal civic responsibility towards shared space, and to propose changes in the relationship between residents and the governing municipality.
5. Hosting 2008
The theme of the 2008 Biennale was "Hosting". During "Hosting" innovative possibilities for transforming public urban space into a site for hospitality were examined. These possibilities were realized through collaborations between residents, visitors and municipal officials. About one hundred artists, designers and architects from around the world participated, as well as dozens of local communities. Thirty sites, all representing the Biennale’s agenda, were raised around the city. In the two weeks that "Hosting" was open to the public, more the half a million visitors were exposed to the alternative solutions offered by the Biennale sites.
6. Timing 2010
The second Biennale is based on existing municipal projects for infrastructures and general urban layout. These plans involve lengthy periods of construction that create disruption and distress in daily life while waiting for a "better future". The planners and artists participating in the 2010 Biennale offer to transform these situations from disruptions to opportunities. Biennale projects will accompany existing municipal projects and catalyze activity by local residents, entrepreneurs and municipal bodies to re-think existing urban patterns. "Timing" 2010 asks to recognize the temporary situations experienced in daily urban life as valuable in and of themselves, and as opportunities for improvement.