WARning the city/zens
project of CISR 2023/24
the project responds to the challenges and changes in the life of cities and civil societies in Russia, Armenia and Georgia caused by the Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine
The laboratory "WARning the city/zens" is dedicated to rethinking urbanism and urban activism in contemporary contexts against the backdrop of war and emigration.

The CISR e.V. Berlin team has been involved in various programs and processes professionally and activistically related to urban development for the last decade. Today we are discovering our own mistakes, asking ourselves many questions and realizing that we need to act differently. For a decade and a half of its existence, post-Soviet urbanism ignored many of the social, economic, and political processes of which it was a part. Nationalism, neoliberalism, authoritarianism, colonialism and imperialism - these phenomena have largely influenced the work of urbanists and urban activists, but have rarely been discussed in the professional community. They continue to influence our thinking and our activism.

The Lab was designed as an invitation to have a frank discussion about what can and should be changed in our approaches to urban development, how we can join forces and act together. We will delve into questions of professional ethics, authoritarian urbanism, complicity and inclusion, migration, coloniality and "imperialism", plots of discrimination and inequality in cities, and more.

What is the role of urban studies today? How can we rethink the civic and professional experiences of urbanists and urban activists in recent years? What ethical, professional and practical questions should we address today, what conclusions should we draw for ourselves? How to act in new contexts and circumstances?

This is a laboratory for those who:

— wants to rethink their activities in the field of urban development;
— looks for new approaches and methods in new conditions;
— wants to share their thoughts and ideas on the topic of the lab and find co-participants;
— looks for new connections, contacts, ideas and inspiration for working with cities;
— lives in cities in Georgia, Armenia and Russia;
— interested in the topic and wants to participate in the online activities of the lab.

What to expect:

the lab program assumes 2 offline meetings per year, as well as regular online meetings

Event Calendar
11-17 June 2023
Workshop in Armenia "Urban club" — identifying shared interests, immersing in local context, initiating discussion of laboratory issues
7 October 2023
Conference-festival on the theme of urban activism urbansonfest in Berlin
May 2024
Weekly "Urban club" in Georgia — immersion in the local context and continued discussion of topical issues
November 2024
Conference and final meeting in Berlin for active project participants
Online events

  • webinars, exchange of experience and opinions, lectures by experts on the project topics;
  • events organized by the participants themselves.
The media and educational block "Urban Costs of War" includes traditional for CISR e.V. Berlin formats: "Import/Export" and "Kitchen Sociology Evenings". The aim of the block: information exchange between urbanists and urban and civic activists in Russia, Georgia and Armenia, as well as the development of media products based on the results of "urbanconfest", "Urban camp", "WARning the city/zens" conference and other events of the project.

During offline and online events, discussions, webinars and other forms of interaction, participants and the general public will have the opportunity to participate in the creation of media materials and discuss various topics addressed by the project.