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​Advanced Urban Design: Eight Courses Students Are To Master

, Art & Science

Basics of critical conceptual and design thinking, big data analysis and curatorial practices. What are the most interesting courses and exciting approaches of the new joint master programme of HSE Graduate School of Urbanism and Strelka Institute?

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The new programme is based on two types of courses – academic and experimental. The former cover traditional format of lectures and seminars where students acquire background knowledge while the latter offer freedom of individual studies as well as working under supervision. Strelka Magazine summarises courses and curious facts about what to expect from the programme.
CRITICAL THINKING
Tutor: Nick Axel, architect, managing editor of  Volume Magazine and researcher at Forensic Architecture
Critical Thinking consists of four modules: Frame Analysis and Dialectics, Dialog, Rhetoric and Fieldwork. The main purpose of the course is to teach students to go beyond their own position and to be able to hold their own alongside taking other points of view into consideration. Students will be encouraged to discuss Maurica Blanchot essays as well as apply various creative techniques to look at urban phenomena.
Two external guests, Urban Fauna Lab and METASITU team, will be invited to share their experience in exploring urban phenomena through videos and art objects.
ACCESS TO INFORMATION AND DATA
Tutors: Philipp Kats, analyst, data journalist, data visualization;
Egor Kotov, data analyst, research fellow at the Centre for Advanced Data Analysis of the HSE Graduate School of Urbanism;
Alexander Semenov, junior research fellow at the International Research Laboratory for Applied Network Research at the National Research University Higher School of Economics, social network analyst
This course is designed to help students navigate through the vast ocean of information. The tutors are themselves young specialists with experience in both academic research and business projects. Strelka graduate Philipp Kats, who has worked in RIA Novosti's Infographics Department and Rambler Infographics, will teach data visualisation. Egor Kotov, research fellow at the Centre for Advanced Data Analysis of the HSE Graduate School of Urbanism, will share information on best practices of data manipulation automation and data analysis. Alexander Semenov, junior research fellow at HSE, will give a course on applied methods of sociological data analysis. The course will also cover research-based and architectural design. During the six modules of the course students will define general conceptual framework for their projects, learn to find reliable sources of information, try to carry out their own research and grasp the basics of programming.
CITY: ECONOMICS, SOCIOLOGY, POLITICS
Tutors: Elena Korotkova, PhD in Economics, Chief Analyst at the Centre for Urban Studies of the Skolkovo Business School, SPURS Fellow of the MIT Department of Urban Planning and Studies;
Kirill Martynov, Senior lecturer at the School of Philosophy at the National Research University, Higher School of Economics, philosopher, journalist and analyst for Russian independent media, (Novaya Gazeta, RBC);
Victor Vakhshtayn, Dean, Faculty of Sociology and Philosophy, Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Honorary Fellow at the University of Manchester, School of Education, Environment and Development
This course is a critical introduction to how economics, sociology and political studies influence urban planning. Among the key problems students will discuss whether income segregation is the right thing to do, what city administration and common citizens spend money on, how sociology works in daily life and what political power a city may have. Students are supposed not only to study recommended literature but also explore the urban environment during a series of field trips. The course also shows the specificity of Russian socio-economic and political development, and thereby prepares the students for their work in Russia and, by extension, in other developing countries.
URBANISATION IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
Tutors: Prof. Dr. Ronald Wall, Professor at WITS University (Johannesburg), urban and regional economic development expert;
Nadya Nilina, Lecturer at MARCH-Moscow School of Architecture, large-scale master planning specialist
The course includes two parts: the first one examines Urbanisation in Developing Countries and the second focusses on Russia in particular. Students will have an opportunity to study at the University of the Witwatersrand where they will be able independently to explore the urban environment of Johannesburg, learn from local designers and research workers and work in team with students of the host university. During Moscow field trips students will explore various urban systems from libraries and cinemas to residential neighbourhoods and describe the changes they have undergone during the post-Soviet period. One of the lecturers, Ronald Wall, who is an expert in urban and regional economic development, has worked for urban planning offices such as OMA, MVRDV, West 8 and was also the Director of the Research Studio "Links" at Strelka Institute in 2013-2014.
CURATORIAL PRACTICES IN URBAN PROJECTS
Tutor: Anna Trapkova, Deputy Director for Development at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts
Today, curatorial practices have transcended the confines of gallery and museum spaces. Understanding the logic of cultural programming will help students to construct the most productive cityscapes. The course includes creative field trips to both traditional museums and modern art clusters. Star lecturers, for example, Marina Loshak, Head of the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, and Anton Belov, Director of the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, will also share their professional experiences as part of the course. Students will be also offered real case studies such as the curatorial master plan for the State Hermitage Museum by OMA/AMO. The concluding block will prepare them for going through all phases of the curatorial work and passing the last module of the programme: The Student Exhibition Project.
MAPPING THE CAMPUS
Tutor: Theo Deutinger, Founder of TD Architects, writer, designer, lecturer at the Harvard GSD, the Strelka Institure and the Bauhaus, published in Wired, Domus, Pasajes and GEO
Mapping the Campus is programme’s special experimental course which will combine lectures and seminars with training sessions in the form of project modules.
A short introductory workshop will familiarise students with campus space and main research principles. After that students will work in small groups of three under the supervision of Theo Deutinger, TD Architects founder, and research the distributed campus of the National University Higher School of Economics which is one of the largest in Russia. By the end of the workshop each team will have to visualise their data in the form of team presentations during a detailed reflection session.
URBAN RACE (PROJECT MODULE)
Tutors: Varvara Melnikova, Strelka Institute and Afisha CEO;
Daliya Safiullina, Strelka KB architect and project manager
Urban Race will recreate a real-world situation of an architectural or urban development competition as the final project and the highlight of the first year of the programme. Students will have to do their best to impress an international jury of experts headed by Varvara Melnikova, Strelka Institute and Afisha CEO. To ensure a high level of entries, Strelka KB invited lecturers and lead Russian architects will share experience of holding such competitions and also provide basic materials such as plans, statistics, and historical analysis. Students will work in groups regularly consulting with Strelka Institute and KB curators to create projects worthy of the jury attention. The best project will be awarded a prize.
Research-Based Design (Module)
Tutors: Theo Deutinger, Founder of TD Architects, writer, designer;
Anastassia Smirnova, Programming Director of the ‘Advanced Urban Design’ Master's Programme, SVESMI Co-Founder
By the end of the programme students will have to carry out their own research based on the knowledge acquired. Their Research-Based Design project will comprise two stages: brief development, and research and design. At both stages students will be guided by Theo Deutinger and Anastassia Smirnova, who will channel their ideas and ensure the optimum level of problematisation, as well as the quality and relevance of proposed solutions. In the academic year 2017/2018 students will focus on reconsidering cultural systems of the socialist era. 
The full description of the programme can be found here.

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