• Curator & Director: Anastassia Smirnova
  • Location: Moscow RU
  • Client: Strelka Institute
  • Host institution: National Research University Higher School of Economics

Traditionally, architects and planners were working primarily on spatial objects. The scope of their work today is much broader and includes such aspects as dealing with media and social networks, engaging with local communities, participating in educational and cultural programs, as well as integrating new technologies. Demand for such urban professionals with a complex range of skills – “designers – entrepreneurs” is actively growing worldwide, and building such a skill set is exactly what the AUD program design by SVESMI partner Anastassia Smirnova was aiming at.

It is the only interdisciplinary international Master’s programme in Urban Design in the vast Post-Soviet space: a perfect framework for projective exploration of non-Western urban and rural conditions.

The programme introduced students to contemporary European and American design theory and practices, while at the same time, offering operational toolkits for application of this knowledge in the new markets. It helps to understand the specificity of research and design work in highly volatile conditions of the cities in Russia, South Africa and the CIS, providing competencies beyond traditional urbanism. The programme offered unique expertise in doing projects and research in developing countries and economies in transition – places where most urbanization and suburbanization is happening nowadays.

By studying Russian cities, students received an opportunity to explore key patterns of urbanization traceable in cities of similar unstable contexts. This allowed them to get experience of integrative planning in situations when all systems of urban governance and regulation are going through continuous and not always logical transformation.

Advanced Urban Design Program Tutors: