Shenzhen Lianhua Shan Park. Source: Visual China

Shenzhen Lianhua Shan Park. Source: Visual China

Public art expresses the unique cultural spirit of a city, shaping its image and inner quality. In the process of high- speed development, Shenzhen has introduced the cultural and artistic genes into its urban development strategies and plans, a move that helps form the cultural texture and landscape unique to the city. Its urban construction, therefore, has entered into an aesthetic era where nature and humans can coexist in harmony.

With the theme of “public art in the city”, this issue offers a full account of the practice Shenzhen has conducted in public art over the years. It tries to answer some important questions about the relations of art and society, as well as in which ways art could play a better role in social development, by helping a city raise its aesthetic and cultural taste and serving the needs of the public for a high-quality life.

Local research on urban public art has been carried out from three dimensions, namely city, life, and the future. Taking spaces, blocks, and communities with different functions as examples, we manage to showcase Shenzhen’s vibrant artistic lifestyles, and comprehensively review the prevision editions of the Bi-city Biennale Urbanism\Architecture (UABB). In the process, all large-scale public art projects that have been carried out across Shenzhen are visually presented to provide a brief glimpse into the role that public art has played in the urbanization of the city.

To thoroughly discuss the significance of public art in promoting urban development, this issue invites the experts who have been deeply involved in Shenzhen’s urban planning & construction and artistic creation for many years
to engage in a dialogue. Starting from urban planning and focused on policy promotion, public participation, and
feedback collection, their discussions unfold around such topics as conceptuality, participation, and influence. It can be clearly seen that Shenzhen has in recent years kept innovating practices and improved mechanisms, thus providing a reliable guarantee for citizens to be part of a thriving cultural life.

“Public art in the city” is growing as an international topic. This issue specially introduces the globally prestigious Sculpture Projects Münster, a German exhibition that can provide multiple dimensions of reflection on the participation of public art in urban construction, development of tourist economy, and empowerment of urban culture by new experiences.