The Center focuses its research on themes connected with the past, with the communities, and with the culture of cities in East Central Europe, including their spatial characteristics, socio-cultural transformations and everyday practices. The Center for Urban History's projects look at the history of Lviv, but also include the history of other cities and towns of the region in order to bring a comparative perspective to the research.
Our research projects are developed and realized by the team of historians, sociologists, and historians of architecture working at the Center for Urban History or those affiliated as research fellows and guest researchers. This interdisciplinary quality allows for a fruitful framework and capacity for innovative work in urban history. Balancing between individual work and team-based research enhances cooperation both within our institution and beyond it, creating opportunities to exchange methods, discuss shared research opportunities, and engage with common challenges. The diversity of topics and formats implemented in the Center, including both network-based and individual projects, has allowed us to define the fields of our interests and identify several broader research themes.
One of the longest research initiative realized at the Center are projects in digital history and digital archiving. Thus, Lviv Interactive, one of the largest urban digital encyclopedias in Eastern Eruope, also includes research projects into particular districts in the city (such as Sykhiv, Kastelivka, or Pidzamche) or particular types of urban construction (such as streets or monuments), or urban networks (such as literary and creative millieus). Furthermore, Urban Media Archive offers collections of visual and audio materials related to research on the history of cities and towns in Eastern Europe. For example, the Urban Stories is a collection of oral testimonies of Lviv's inhabitants about their life and work in the city that allow us to trace changes experienced in particular streets and areas of city, as well as institutional settings. Analyzing visual langauge as well as digital processing of visual materials were at the core of "Industrialization and Perception of Urban Landscape in the Industrial South of the Russian Empire" project, realized in 2013-2014.In 2012-2014, the Center for Urban History was one of the partner institutions in international and collaborative research project "Region, Nation and Beyond. An Interdisciplinary and Transcultural Reconceptualization of Ukraine" (initiated and coordinated by University of St. Gallen). The team at the Center worked on a qualitative sociological survey that explored local dimensions of the regional, national/state, as well as transnational perspectives and they way they shape understandings of modern Ukraine.
In 2014, following themes for the research work of the Center for Urban History were defined: urban heritage; planned urbanity; cities, wars and recoveries in the 20th century; cultural productions and audiences in cities; professionalization and urban developments; urban mediascapes; public history and urban spaces. The chronology for the research projects is limited to the 19th and 20th centuries. We are truly interdisciplinary, aiming to integrate history, sociology, urban planning, and history of architecture.
In 2015, four research groups working on the topics of urban heritage, planned urbanity, war and post-war experiences in the 20th century cities, and public history and the city were launched. Each research focus includes a set of individual and collaborative projects, academic workshops and conferences, as well as public and digital history formats.