At Countless Cities, the Favara (Sicily) biennale dedicated to cities, photographer Corinna Del Bianco explores spontaneous and self-built living and the urban circular economy. Until January 2022

At a time when the housing sphere is taking on an increasingly important role, Corinna Del Bianco's research linked to the spontaneous growth of cities, reflects and communicates the true value of living through the relationship between built and natural landscape, between inside and outside, and between communities in different cultural contexts.

Researcher specialized in architecture and urban disegn and photographer, Corinna Del Bianco presents her works and research within Countless Cities 2021People Live Here. A More Human Approach, the biennial dedicated to the theme of cities promoted by Farm Cultural Park. The exhibition, which will take place in Favara, Sicily (Italy), from 26 March 2021 to 16 January 2022 (with inauguration on 25 and 26 June), hosts 23 pavilions, each of which give a voice to architects, artists and creative people who, thanks to their languages explore the new practices and ideas related to the living of the future.

Corinna Del Bianco was called to curate two pavilions: one focusing on the city of São Paulo (Brazil) and one dedicated to the city of Prato (Italy) with Valerio Barberis and Andrea Bartoli.

The Pavilion of São Paulo presents the case study dedicated to the Brazilian city as part of the Spontaneous Living Spaces project conceived in 2011 and focused on the study of different cultural contexts through the analysis and documentation of self-built houses. In addition to the Brazilian case study, those of Hong Kong and Pemba in Mozambique were developed. Extensive photographic documentation, interviews, models and videos reveal the life of the community, alongside surveys of spaces and functions inside homes and a morphological analysis of the neighborhood that determine the prevailing housing typologies.

The Pavilion focuses on a residential block of the Guapira II favela, in the northern area of São Paulo, part of the Jardim Filhos da Terra district, which began the regularization process in 2008. The Brazilian case study was developed with the support of the Municipality of São Paulo, in particular with that of Elisabete França of the Secretaria de Habitação (SEHAB), and with the supervision of Stefano Boeri and Pier Paolo Tamburelli of the Politecnico di Milano.


Self-construction defines a large part of the urban fabric and landscape of cities in developing countries. The need to self-build dwellings often derives from the urgency to find accommodation and from limited economic possibilities. Most of the time these settlements arise as a temporary solution, going on to consolidate themselves as an integral part of the city.


Corinna Del Bianco shows us the importance of documenting these urban fragments as stages of the city development and that of identifying and analyzing the characteristics of living in such contexts. This research method enables design that is more integrated with the local culture of living, while respecting the needs and aspirations of its inhabitants.

The second edition of the book Jardim Filhos da Terra — Spontaneous Living Spaces in São Paulo, will be released in summer 2021, published by LetteraVentidue Edizioni.

The Pavilion of São Paulo is hosted in the main hall on the noble floor of Palazzo Cafisi, an ancient residential mansion in the historic center of Favara, and underlines the relationship between Jardim Filhos da Terra and the city of the Biennale, highlighting how living is an entirely cultural process and how architectural experiences can combine very different contexts. The exhibition calls on visitors to confront themselves with discovery, exploration, and will highlight how the two realities – Brazilian and the Sicilian –, are remarkably similar in their formal housing language and in their urban fabric made of streets and natural elements.

Several screenings animate the São Paulo Pavilion, like the video shot by Maria Eduarda Chaves, an eight-year-old girl who spontaneously followed the months of field research and contributed by documenting the interiors of her aunt's house; a series of short videos that show the characteristic elements of Brazilian everyday life such as rodas de samba, maracatu dance and street life.

Alongside Valerio Barberis and Andrea Bartoli, Corinna Del Bianco co-curates the Pavilion of the city of Prato hosted on the first floor of Palazzo Miccichè. The protagonists of the exhibition are two projects: Prato Forest City, part of Prato Urban Jungle project financed with UIA Urban Innovative Actions European funds, dedicated to forestation and the creation of areas with a high density of greenery through an innovative co-design process that improves the resilience of the city, and the Circular City project aimed at circularity applied to the city of Prato, in particular to the reality of its textile district with the experience gained over the years in the development of a sustainable industry. In addition, the pavilion, in relation to the context of Favara, retraces Prato's experiments in the re-use of abandoned spaces, which, unlike those in Favara, belong to the industrial heritage of the city.