Joint project with the BMBF

»Stadt.Kultur.Bauen«: Cultural Heritage of Construction in Post-Soviet Urban Development

Logo Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung

Since April 2021, the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) has been funding the joint project »Stadt.Kultur.Bauen« [City.Culture.Construction] as part of its »Regional Studies (Area Studies)« programme. The programme’s aim is to further develop excellent research through boundary-crossing collaboration. At the same time, further disciplines are to make possible and strengthen the interdisciplinary dialogue of regional studies.

© Peretz Partensky, view of a residential area in Uralmaš, Jekaterinburg (2009)

Working jointly with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the RWTH Aachen, the GWZO is developing new approaches to a sustainable approach to the cultural heritage of construction in post-Soviet Russia. Researchers are examining Russian cities at the intersection of cultural, historical, social, planning and environmental studies. These researches centre on residential stock in selected urban quarters from pre-socialist and socialist epochs of the late 19th and the 20th centuries. As part of its international and interdisciplinary dialogue, the joint team is also working with partners at the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, the South Ural State University in Chelyabinsk, the Ural State University of Economics in Yekaterinburg and the National Technical Research University in Irkutsk.

The GWZO’s sub-project »Values of the Cultural Heritage of Construction« is being realised under the leadership of Dr. Corinne Geering (Young Researchers’ group »A Comparative Look at East-Central Europe«) and Prof. Dr. Arnold Bartetzky (Department II »Culture and Imagination«). It studies the processes and patterns of the (re-)imagination, negotiation and prioritisation of historical, socio-cultural, municipal-spatial and economic values of urban heritage. The industrial cities of Chelyabinsk, Yekaterinburg and Magnitogorsk serve as case studies of the heritage of residential construction.

Dr. Mikhail Ilchenko is studying contemporary urban transformations of the »socialist city« (sotsgorod). Since the 1920s, their construction in the Soviet Union formed one of the most radical urban building campaigns. The end of state socialism led to an accelerated deterioration that in many places presents strong challenges for urban development today.

Polina Gundarina analyses the changes in Russian urban planning after the end of the Soviet Union. How was the Soviet urban infrastructure socially and spatially reshaped after 1991? What new functions did socialist buildings take on, and how did these influence the day-to-day life of urban residents?

Cross-Departmental Leadership