International Students Marvel at Winter School in Urban Studies

Students came from all around Europe including Germany, Spain, France and the Netherlands to participate in the winter school organized by the Institute of Design and Urban Studies at ITMO University, which just ended last week.

As part of the program, students participated in lectures about St. Petersburg, the development of industrial areas, and how IT has been used to solve city problems and provide warnings for emergency situations. There were also special field trips arranged for the students to visit the city’s monitoring center including the EMERCOM’s situation center, and also Kronstadt with an excursion to the dam and the St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral.

"I decided to participate in this program because I’m studying politics and European and Russian relations, I’m writing my master’s thesis on how Russia is portrayed in European media. It’s fantastic that the program was multidisciplinary and we had an opportunity to find out what is happening and how the city’s management is organized from different perspectives. But for me the most important and valuable part was probably lectures and excursions related to the country’s history and cultural life", shared Marlène Rene, one of the participants of ITMO University’s Winter School in Urban Studies.

"I'm studying in Spain and study business administration at the University of Leon.You can say I have a very general specialization, since knowledge from this field can be applied to different areas, whether it’s mining, finance, accounting or administration. I find city management, construction and knowledge about how things are built very interesting, and so I decided to participate in the Winter School in Urban Studies at ITMO University", added Borja Gonzalez, another participant.

During the practical lessons, the participants were given the opportunity to use a special software for creating interactive maps. Arina Sender, the deputy head of the Institute of Design and Urban Studies, explained that many participants of the school used photographs that they took in Kronstadt.

"Our goal was to show the uniqueness of St. Petersburg, its history, the reasons why it was one of the first cities in Russia to be included in the UNESCO world heritage list. Furthermore, every day after each session, the participants went on excursions organized by the AEGEE fund. I think that everyone defined their own personal track, which was evident from the interactive maps they worked on," commented Arina Sender.

According to her, the Institute of Design and Urban Studies is famous for its international thematic workshops and schools. For example the topic of one of its workshops was the problem of the "grey belt" of St. Petersburg, and solutions proposed by students were presented at the "Extreme Urbanism" Forum. The "grey belt" requires a continual transformation, so the Institute of Design and Urban Studies plans to continue further with this theme by organizing more events and conducting further research. Similarly, there is a desire to expand cooperation with the AEGEE fund, which helped organize the winter school. According to the plans, the next school in Urban Studies at ITMO University may happen in summer for two weeks which will make it possible to see more places and cover more topics.

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