Human-centered and Knowledge-Based: Ideas about automated management of the city in the late Soviet Lviv

Human-centered and Knowledge-Based: Ideas about automated management of the city in the late Soviet Lviv

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Dr. Natalia Otrishchenko

Center for Urban History

2.2.2021, 16:00

Conference Room of the Center for Urban History

Political anthropologist and researcher of "Soviet social" Stephen J. Collier outlines one of the key challenges of the planning in the USSR: "When engaged in total planning, you have to think of everything" (Collier 2011, 95). Nevertheless, to imagine the city in its totality does not always mean to coordinate efforts at different levels in order to turn this imagination into concrete interconnected indicators nor does it mean to incorporate this knowledge into urban policies. Even when the Dipromist State Design Institute for Cities mainly held all the practice of urban planning in late Soviet Lviv, the alternative visions of spatial management emerged in the community of the Lviv Polytechnic Institute during the 1970s and 1980s.

The seminar focuses on the ideas of urban environment management (Ukrainian: upravlinnia mis’kym seredovyshchem; Russian: upravlenie gorodskoi sredoi) that developed during the last decades of state socialism in Lviv primarily by Andrii Rudnytskyi. Unlike other works focusing mainly on general plans and official planning documentation, Natalia is going to discuss an alternative model proposed by Lviv urban planners in order to administrate the city as a whole and the one never implemented. Developed based on the ideas from cybernetics and as a critical approach towards modernist planning practice, it gives insight both into the management process and the aspirations for future city development. During the seminar, we will trace the emergence of this idea, its lobbying in the political and academic fields, and the legacy it left.

This research project is part of the international network "Legacies of Communism? Post-Communist Europe from Stagnation to Reform and between Autocracy and Revolution", which is financed by The Leibniz Association and which is coordinated by the Centre for Contemporary History (ZZF) Potsdam. It is also part of the Center's research focus on planned urbanity.

Working language - Ukrainian.

The event has a format of a workshop, with the guest researchers to discuss academic projects and research works on different stages of progress, and of the completed projects prepared for print.

Participation in the Urban Seminar implies reading and discussing the researcher’s text. If you wish to join the workshop, please, send an email to Maryana Mazurak ( to receive the materials in advance.


Cover image: The condition for perceiving urban space. Source: Rudnitskii, A. (1985). Upravlenie gorodskoi sredoi. L’vov: Vyshcha Shkola, 69.