Faculty of Urban and Regional Development


Three decades of post-socialist urban transition

Faculty took part in an international conference at TU Darmstadt dedicated to cities and post-socialist urban change

On 19-20 May 2019 the International Conference on Cities and Change – Three Decades of Post-Socialist Transition was held in Darmstadt, Germany. Organized by the Urban Morphosis Lab, the conference aimed at bringing together researchers from different fields – architecture, urban planning, political science, sociology and geography – to discuss the complex urban transformations that characterize post-socialist countries since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The topics discussed included, inter alia, socialist heritage and its negotiations, the urban morphology of post-socialist cities, urban planning and development and urban governance. You can find the detailed program and sessions’ description here.

The HSE Faculty of Urban and Regional Development participated in a series of events, including an opening keynote lecture by Oleg Golubchikov, associate professor at the HSE Faculty of Social Sciences, research fellow at the HSE Institute of Regional Studies and Urban Planning. Oleg Golubchikov put forward the notion of ‘urbanization of transition’, drawing attention to the centrality of the urban in the production and formation of post-socialist societies. What is more, Vera Smirnova and Daniela Zupan, research fellows at the IRSUP, organized a session concerning issues of land appropriation in post-socialist urban space which generated a very productive discussion on the topic of land ownership and the ideology of private property in post-socialist context.

The conference showed the continuing importance of the concept of a ‘post-socialist city’ for understanding urban change in post-soviet space, identified by uneven development and polarization, growing inequalities as well as socio-spatial fragmentation. These propositions prepared a productive ground for further research on these processes, but also for an increasingly active engagement of scholars with the field of policy making to achieve more just and socially balanced urban development. Regarding the latter, re-evaluation and learning from the socialist ideas and concepts could provide fruitful and stimulating grounds.