Edinburgh Global

Urban Regeneration: Impacts of War lab

A collaboration between Edinburgh and KNU, exchanging experiences, knowledge and ideas between students and staff from both universities, which looks to limit damage, achieve justice and aid sustainable and inclusive reconstruction.

Professor Soledad Garcia Ferrari
Professor Soledad Garcia Ferrari

Marking a year of partnership: Edinburgh-KNU 

On 19 May 2023, The University of Edinburgh (UoE) and Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (KNU) in Ukraine celebrate the 1-year anniversary of this important partnership. In the past year, varied shared activity, including staff and student capacity building, knowledge exchange, seed funding of new research proposals and research mobility have taken place across different schools and departments between Edinburgh and KNU. This mutually beneficial partnership has created lasting impactful connections in our combined communities.

We stand with KNU during the invasion of Ukraine and commit to a future of collaboration.   

Urban Regeneration 

The idea for collaboration in Urban Regeneration emerged in Kyiv, where our colleagues face the prospect of their cities and towns after the war and concerns include design, social and economic perspectives. An overarching theme of this collaboration is the governance mechanisms that will be needed to manage aid coming in, new migration waves and decision-making processes around the re-building of place. Guiding the project called ‘Impacts of War Lab’ are Kostyantyn Mezentsev (KNU) and Soledad Garcia Ferrari (Edinburgh), which looks to limit damage, achieve justice and aid sustainable and inclusive reconstruction. The first online workshop, which took place over three days from 22-24 March, discussed ‘Post-war and conflict urban regeneration’ and exchanged experiences and ideas between students and staff from both universities. 

When exploring this collaboration we felt the opportunity to consider the potential influence the reconstruction may have in shaping future cities and regions in Europe, considering the impact the aftermath of the Second World War had in setting up parameters for urban regeneration across the continent .

Professor Soledad Garcia Ferrari  Personal Chair of Global Urbanism and Resilience  

Impacts of War (Lab) 

The Impacts of War Lab is included in the establishment of four joint Labs4TwinnedReasearch in:   

The workshop involved students from the MSc Urban Strategies and Design of the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, and students from the BSc Urban Studies and Planning and MSc Urban Studies and Regional Development of the Geography Faculty at KNU.  

There were clear synergies between the challenges perceived and explored across Kyiv’s academics and Think Tank [MG1] from us in Edinburgh, we thought both cohorts of students would benefit from participating in discussions.

Professor Soledad Garcia Ferrari  Personal Chair of Global Urbanism and Resilience  

The aim of the workshop was to give Edinburgh and KNU students the opportunity to work collaboratively and exchange ideas, knowledge, and perspectives in the context of their academic research and practice, initially  through exploring different urban contexts in a post-crisis scenario. Students were organised in teams and each of these were given a different city in Ukraine that has been affected by the invasion in different ways. Teams were given the overarching question:What are the main issues surrounding reconstruction and regeneration in Ukrainian cities in the context of growing European and global challenges?” KNU Students were able to provide real-life context, were able to present a reflection on what they are going through and to propose innovative actions that could lead the future regeneration and reconstruction across these three case studies.

The KNU students are really connected to their own context and are passionate to talk about what they are seeing around them, but at the same time, they were keen to collaboratively developing ideas that could drive future change.

Professor Soledad Garcia Ferrari Personal Chair of Global Urbanism and Resilience  

View the workshops recordings by scrolling to the bottom of this page:

Watch the workshop recordings

Impact and future focus 

Throughout the workshop, students were extremely engaged and gained from each other’s experiences. The outcomes of their collaborative work were presented for feedback, which was an opportunity to exchange ideas and define a shared framework for intervention across the three case studies proposed. A roundtable discussion took place to discuss and summarise the findings of the students’ work and how that could contribute to their academic work within their respective programmes of study. 

Members from the research team from both Edinburgh and KNU are working on a literature review focused on conflict and regeneration, identifying the key drivers that reconstruction would need. The aim is to have a substantial set of resources to inform policy and develop a governance framework that is influential and could drive inclusive and participative forms of driving reconstruction.

I thought it was so inspirational - maybe because we had such a great group of young people, thinking about the future. What has taken place so far is only the beginning…

Professor Soledad Garcia Ferrari  

The important thing to note is that this is just the beginning of the lab work, with the next focus being on the geopolitical lab. There are open discussions on having joint degree programmes and hosting KNU PhD students here at Edinburgh.  

One year on from the partnership’s beginning and it is clear that the impact is not only about the outcomes of research, but also about the meaningful relationships being built between the two universities. 

Related Links  

  Read more about the Impacts of war lab: 

Impacts of War Lab

Read more about our united activities: 

A year of alliance: Edinburgh-KNU partnership 

Find out more about our partner university, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv:

Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv