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Burdett picked to head Venice Biennale

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Leading urbanist Ricky Burdett has been chosen as the director of next year's Venice Architecture Biennale.

Best known for his work at the London School of Economics, Burdett will be responsible for the major international exhibition in the Arsenale building on the theme of world cities.

Davide Croff, the president of the Biennale, said of Burdett: '[He is] one of the recognised international experts in the field of urbanism. He will develop a programme that traces the links between the physical form of cities and their social dynamics.'

He added: 'A central ambition of the new Biennale will be to develop a manifesto on city design and governance for the 21st century.'

Burdett, who is also the architectural adviser to the Mayor of London, has already curated more than 40 exhibitions on contemporary architecture and urban design and is delighted the organisers of the Biennale have chosen to concentrate on major cities.

He said: '[For] the first time in its history, [the event] will investigate how architecture and civic life are interconnected, focusing on the future of cities in the 21st century - the urban age.'

He added: 'By 2050, three-quarters of the world's population will live in cities - a century ago it was only 10 per cent.

'Today, the architecture of cities shapes the lives of over half the world's population, creating the potential for social and environmental integration or conflict and fragmentation.'

by Richard Waite

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