Friday, October 1, 2010


The workshop will approach the problematic of contemporary Saint-Petersburg through two conceptual stages. The first will study the city from an interdisciplinary perspective, looking into the multiplicity of urban elements and processes in order to define an integrated design approach and develop local design strategies. The second will attempt to juxtapose the findings and design proposals of the first stage with popular models of urban design and urban development scenarios with a view to conceptualising a defining idea and identity of Greater Saint-Petersburg as an integrated whole.

In order to develop an integrated perspective and design methodology the first stage of the workshop will study urban dynamics and design strategies through the following themes:

Built environment and Sustainability
Landscape and Ecology
Socio-economics and Planning
Urban politics and Citizenship
Space and Identity
Cultural landscape and History

The economic crisis, having exposed the insecurity of the Russian development model based on natural resources finally brought changes to the political perspective, reorienting it towards the theme of 'innovation and modernisation' - today's official governmental and presidential programme. Taking this position, the last international economic forum held in June 2010 in Saint-Petersburg indicated a number of strategic issues to be addressed in the context of budget deficit, global competition for human resources and the city's overall role in the world's economic system. Exploring those, Russia traditionally looks to the West, learning from known models and cases, which focus on concepts of sustainability, creative economy, place branding and suchlike.

The principle intention of the second stage of the workshop is to avoid the practice of mere transposition of well-established models into the post-socialist city, but to juxtapose these with urban specificities and corresponding design opportunities identified during the initial stage in order to conceptualise an idea of the city as a coherent and distinct whole - Greater Saint-Petersburg. This perception of the city would then contribute to the political stance taken by the government, yet transgressing its superficial perspective by offering alternative and tangible content.