Looking Forward, Looking Back: Re-Connecting of Urban Planning Education in Lviv

The article outlines the development of a new network assembled by the chair of urban planning at the Lviv Polytechnic institute after the collapse of the USSR. It focuses on the actions of individual people who contributed to institutional changes and used various resources to create and maintain a set of connections.
The tradition of urban planning education in Lviv begins with a Chair of Urban Planning created in 1913 at Lviv Polytechnic. However, after WWII and the incorporation of the city into the Soviet state, Lviv Polytechnic went through radical changes. Urban planning was restored as an architectural sub-specialization only in 1966, while a separate department of architecture was organized only in 1971.
After perestroika and the disintegration of the Soviet Union (1985‒1991), the Chair of Urban Planning relatively quickly reoriented its activities from Moscow’s to Kraków’s, Wrocław’s, Vienna’s or Berlin’s perspective. This was primarily due to personal contacts, which step by step became institutionalized, and due to the “imaginary continuity” between contemporary urban planners and the pre-war Lviv architectural school.

Professors who left the city right after WWII gained symbolic importance and helped to establish a common ground between the milieu of Lviv Polytechnic and Polish technical schools in the 1990s. During the time of social and political changes, looking into the past became a quite successful strategy, which helped the institution to gain symbolic capital and survive. The history of Lviv Polytechnic, stripped from all potential conflicts and sharp divisions, helped to build new connections after the old ones no longer provided stable positions. Knowing foreign languages became one of the basic means or resources that people needed to feel connected and to participate in scientific exchanges.
The sources of the article include oral history interviews with academics in the field of architecture, memoirs, and other published materials related to the history of the Chair of Urban Planning at Lviv Polytechnic.

see the article on the SHS website