Community outreach through innovative social mapping and the new roles of the university

The focus of the Urban Education Live Symposium is to explore innovative processes of social mapping used by research actors, in particular by universities, in their relationship with communities.  


One first aim is to examine the cooperation between universities / think-tanks and local communities. Second, it is to analyse how that is related to the use of inspiring, innovative social mapping methods with a high sensitivity to situated knowledge.


Another aim of the symposium is to challenge the mechanisms of knowledge production that often highlight US and West European examples and to bring forward alternative hubs of innovation from Eastern Europe. As such, it will highlight how the region’s strong focus on tech and IT as well as its dynamic social changes provide examples of knowledge-making for the benefit of communities.


We understand social mapping as a continuous process that combines online and offline tools, qualitative, quantitative and spatial data over time to show both emerging patterns and urban change.


The symposium is part of Urban Education Live, a project within the ERA-NET scheme and Joint Partnership Initiative entitled Urban Europe. The project brings together an international consortium willing to initiate and analyse models of collaboration between research bodies and urban communities.


These models involve mutual learning. Universities, NGOs and think-tanks act as catalysts of more inclusive urban change through capacity building for neighbourhood communities, while academia benefits from these collaborations through applied research and students’ first hand experiences.


Friday, October 5th 2018


10.00 ​−​ 10.30  Introducing Urban Education Live – The new roles of the university 

Panel moderated by Vera Marin − UEL team manager at ATU, UAUIM lecturer at the Urban Planning and Territorial Development Department

  • Panu Lehtovuori − head of the School of Architecture at the University of Tampere, Finland
  • Jens Brandt − project manager, School of Architecture at the University of Tampere, Finland


10.30 ​−​ 11.00  Welcome to the Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urban Planning

Panel moderated by Daniela Calciu − UEL team member at ATU, UAUIM teaching assistant, MNAC development director

  • Marian Moiceanu − rector of UAUIM
  • Claudiu Runceanu − dean of the Faculty of Urban Planning
  • Ana Maria Zahariade − pedagogy for critical theory, experiences for reaching out of the university


11.00 ​−​ 11.30  An overview of spatial production research and practices – Spatial Agency

Presentation by Tatjana Schneider, University of Braunschweig / University of Sheffield



11.30 ​−​ 11.45  coffee break



The new roles of the university


11.45 ​−​ 12.45  Evaluating the role of the university – the Sheffield experiences

Presentation by Carolyn Butterworth, University of Sheffield


12.45 ​− ​13.45  Community groups in the lead: collaborations between academia and civil society

Guest speaker Richard Lee, Just Space, London


13.45 ​−​ 14.15  Cooperation between academia, NGOs and practitioners

  • Matjaž Uršič, University of Ljubljana
  • Urban Jeriha, IPoP, Ljubljana
  • Aidan Cedar, University of Ljubljana
  • Primož Medved, University of Ljubljana



14.15 ​−​ 15.00  lunch and ​poster exhibition



Social mapping for research and action


15.00 ​−​ 15.30  Social mapping as a complex process

Gruia Bădescu, UEL team member at ATU, SNSPA associate lecturer


15.30 ​−​ 16.15  Mapping and empowering online and offline communities

Panel moderated by Alexandra Ștef, UEL team member at ATU

  • Bogdan Ivănel ​− co-founder and CEO, Code4Romania
  • Alina Kasprovschi − executive director, Bucharest Community Foundation



16.15 ​− ​16.30  coffee break



Cases of social mapping


16.30 ​−​ 17.30  Action research projects from Romania and the Republic of Moldova

Panel moderated by Andra-Mitia Dumitru, UEL team member at ATU

  • Loredana Gaiță − În comunitate, Timișoara
  • Silviu Medeșan and Diana Galoș − La terenuri, Mănăștur, Cluj
  • Vladimir Us − Apartamentul deschis, Oberliht, Chișinău


17.30 ​−​ 18.00  Final remarks


Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urban Planning

Frescoes Hall


Panu Lehtovuori

UEL project coordinator, professor of urban planning theory at the Tampere University, head of Research Group Urban Planning and Design, thesis supervisor, research projects coordinator and author of publications focusing on temporary uses, key concepts in urban studies, production of urban space, etc. He is a Partner at Livady Architects (1994 - present), and was a professor of Urban Studies at the Estonian Academy of Arts (2006 - 2012).

Jens Brandt

UEL Project Manager at Tampere University of Technology, School of Architecture. He is an urbanist and architect with a background in theatre and visual arts, and a long-term experience of working with urban communities. He is a co-founder of Supertanker, a Copenhagen-based network of urban-social entrepreneurs working on the borders between action research, process design and urban development. Founder of CiTyBee, a Community Tool Box that makes the dialogue about the city more concrete and close to everyday life and makes the design of the city more open for dialogue and self-organization.

Vera Marin

Vera is the UEL Bucharest team coordinator and president of the Association for Urban Transition (ATU) where she has worked as trainer, consultant, and project coordinator dealing with good governance and participatory processes (2001 - present). She is vice-president of Playing Architecture Association which promotes built environment education for children in schools (2013 - present). Since 2000, she teaches at Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urban Planning in Bucharest. She holds a PhD in urban planning (2009) focused on housing policies and urban regeneration.

Daniela Calciu

Daniela is a teaching assistant at the Faculty of Architecture at UAUIM and Development Director of the National Museum of Contemporary Art of Romania, setting up its public service and outreach programmes which bring together an array of arts professionals, educators, community leaders and civic groups, and researchers of the urban environment. As a faculty member of the School of Architecture and a member of the Association for Urban Transition since 2007, Daniela is working to turn students into activists motivated to empower and accompany citizens from all backgrounds to engage with transformative processes of their neighbourhood and city.

Marian Moiceanu

Rector of the Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism in Bucharest since 2003 to present. Architect, Director M&M concept, PhD Professor. Chair of the Synthesis of Architectural Design course of the 4 - 5th year of study. Dean of the Faculty of Architecture between 2012 - 2014.

Claudiu Runceanu

Dean of the Urban Planning Faculty at UAUIM (2016 - present), Director of the Urban Planning and Territorial Development Department (2012 - 2016), architect specialized in urban planning, researcher on housing and urban regeneration, trainer for public administration representatives, French Government Fellow for PhD research (2006 - 2008).

Ana Maria Zahariade

She teaches theory of architecture at the Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism in Bucharest. After 1989, she has been involved in the modernisation of architectural education, in architectural research and its connections to the larger cultural milieu. Awardee of the Herder prize (2013), Getty and Getty-NEC scholar, fellow of the Nantes Institute of Advanced Studies (2011 - 2012).

Tatjana Schneider

Professor at University of Braunschweig (2018) and senior lecturer in the University of Sheffield (2012 - 2018). She is a critical spatial theorist and educator and her research and teaching engages with case studies that foster principles of justice and bridges the profession, practice and education of architecture. She was one of the founding members of the architectural workers cooperative Glasgow Letters on Architecture and Space, a practice that worked at the intersection of theory and practice to produce alternatives to the capitalist production and consumption of space. In 2006, she co-instigated the research project Spatial Agency: Other Ways of Doing Architecture as a means to gather, analyse and describe architecture beyond the object.

Carolyn Butterworth

Carolyn is a Senior University Teacher at Sheffield School of Architecture and Director of Live Works - SSoA's 'Urban Room' and project office in Sheffield city centre. She also runs SSoA’s Live Projects programme that involves groups of masters students working with community clients to deliver real projects for the benefit of their local area. She leads the ‘In Residence’ MArch design studio that specialises in arts-led community regeneration. She is an advocate of the value of ‘liveness’ in architectural education and teaches students how to engage with local communities actively and creatively on site, often in collaboration with artists. She is also a Director of the Guild of St George, John Ruskin's charity for the arts, and a member of the Advisory Board for ReNew Sheffield.

Richard Lee

Richard is the coordinator of Just Space, a London-wide network of community and voluntary groups operating at the local and city wide scales. It came together in 2007 to influence the strategic (spatial) plan for London - the London Plan. The Just Space network has brought together and nurtured a huge amount of experience and knowledge from London's diverse community organisations. This has been channeled into making policy proposals for a fair and sustainable London. Universities have played an important role in supporting the work of Just Space, meeting the needs of community groups through research, teaching, student volunteering and the free use of University space. Just Space publications include Towards a Community-Led Plan for London (2016) and Social Impact Assessment in London Planning (2018).

Urban Jeriha

Urban is an architect, publisher and antrepreneur, working as a researcher and project coordinator within IPoP - Institute for Spatial Policy since its establishment (2013). IPoP is a nonprofit private institute with an ambition to combine theory and practice on the field of spatial development from different professional perspectives. IPoP produces research and supports practical examination of participatory planning and regeneration. IPoP organises events and publish to enable interdisciplinary public discourse on spatial dimension of development.

Matjaž Uršič

Matjaž is a senior research associate at the Faculty of Social Sciences and project coordinator at the Centre for Spatial Sociology of the University of Ljubljana. His research interests focus on the processes of socio-cultural transformation of cities and contemporary urban phenomena in the circumstances of globalisation. Important research interests also include society development, cultural geography, analysis of (sub)cultures, urban migration and spatial systems with particular reference to transformations due to processes of suburbanisation, deurbanisation and reurbanisation.

Primož Medved

Primož is a research associate at the Faculty of Social Sciences (Centre for Spatial Sociology) at the University of Ljubljana. His research focuses mainly on sustainable urbanism; sustainable neighbourhood modelling; social sustainability, local identity and social cohesion in eco cities; socio-economic balance in relation to sustainable urban development; urban social hubs, sustainable reconstruction analysis etc.

Gruia Bădescu

UEL team member (Association for Urban Transition) and associate lecturer at the National School of Political and Administrative Studies (SNSPA) Bucharest. His research and practice focus on the relationship between the spatial, the social and the political, including post-war reconstruction (Balkans, Middle East) and post-dictatorship urban transformations. He holds a MSc in City design from LSE (Cities Programme) and a PhD in Architecture from the University of Cambridge and has taught at the University of Oxford and SNSPA Bucharest. Beyond academia, he worked on integrated urban development planning, urban design, and participatory urbanism in Romania and beyond.

Alexandra Ștef

Alexandra is a UEL team member of the Association for Urban Transition. She engages communities by researching, designing and facilitating processes that embed participation. She has researched emergent civic initiative groups in Bucharest, facilitated public consultations about cultural potential in neighbourhoods and coordinated cultural outreach experiments. Alexandra currently supports community foundations in Romania in their community mapping, outreach and impact strategies. She has studied international affairs, CEE politics and cultural anthropology in Caracas, London, Budapest and Bucharest.

Bogdan Ivănel

After over a decade spent in academia, directly observing and analysing social phenomena in the field of human rights and humanitarian law, with a strong focus on challenged communities, Bogdan co-founded Code for Romania in early 2016. The aim was to put technology at work for social change in Romania. Code for Romania rapidly grew from an idea into a movement. It is now one of the largest and most influential civic tech organisations in the world with almost 600 volunteers of various specialisations spread over 11 time zones and projects and methodologies with impact way further than Romania’s borders. In 2017, Bogdan took the first staff position within Code for All, leading the effort to ensure that the network is fulfilling its potential by ensuring a ripple effect of its members’ knowledge and products.

Alina Kasprovschi

Alina Kasprovschi is a founding member of the Bucharest Community Foundation, which she leads since its establishment. The organisation raises local resouces and finances projects that the community in Bucharest and Ilfov needs. With a ten-year previous experience in marketing and communication, Alina believes the future belongs to real, alive and vibrant communities.

Andra-Mitia Dumitru

Andra-Mitia is a UEL team member of the Association for Urban Transition and programme manager at the National Radio. She is a sociologist (2008) with a master’s degree in Social Anthropology and Community Development (2010). She develops cultural and visual studies as part of Vira Association, a cultural NGO in Bucharest (since 2004). Her most recent study (2016) regards current housing style in socialist blockhouses from Bucharest. Since 2008, she works as editor and reporter for the Romanian Radio Broadcasting Society.

Loredana Gaiță

Loredana Gaiță is an architect and cultural operator. She studied and worked in Timișoara and Brussels and initiated, coordinated or contributed to numerous projects testing social mechanisms for sustainable urban development. Loredana is the president of În comunitate NGO, initiator of the Resilience Lab Timișoara and was the coordinator of the Cultural Program during Timişoara's candidacy for the title of European Capital of Culture 2021.

Silviu Medeșan

Silviu is an architect based in Cluj, Romania. He holds a PhD in Architecture (Technical University of Cluj-Napoca- Faculty of Architecture) with the title Form follows Situation - Contemporary city as foreseen by the Situationists. He is interested in architecture, design, art and interdisciplinary projects in public space. He worked in Romania (Cluj, Bucharest), Hungary (Csorompuszta), Russia (Krasnoyarsk), and lectured in Germany (Berlin), The Netherlands (Amsterdam), Bulgaria (Plovdiv), Moldova (Chișinău) and UK (Sheffield, Edinburgh). Since 2012 he is collaborating with Colectiv A Association in the framework of the community activation through culture project La Terenuri (At the Playgrounds) – Common Space in Mănăştur (Neighbourhood). The project was selected for Actors of Urban Change 2015-2017 Program and awarded by the Transylvania Architecture Biennale (BATRA) in 2017 as best cultural project. He currently works as an architect and independent researcher in Cluj.

Diana Galoș

Diana is an architect who graduated the Faculty of Architecture from Cluj. As a student, she participated in an exchange program at the École nationale supérieure d'architecture de Clermont-Ferrand. She has a strong civic involvement in Cluj and not only. Her cooperation with the De-a Arhitectura Association has developed in the last year by contributing to urbanUP!, an urban pedagogy programme for high school students. She has also worked with Arhipro Arhitectura, the Colectiv A Association, Heritas Foundation (Sibiu), Cooppestrada initiative.

Vladimir Us

Vladimir is an artist and curator based in Chișinău, Moldova, and a founding member of Oberliht Young Artists Association. He studied art, curating, cultural management and cultural policy in Chișinău, Grenoble and Belgrade. Through his recent works and projects, he has been examining the processes of transformation of the public space in post-Soviet cities along with the need for conceptualising an alternative network of public spaces for Chișinău.

Alex Axinte & Cristi Borcan

studioBASAR is an architectural studio and a Search-and-Rescue team from Bucharest that acts as an agent of urban observation and intervention. It has been established in 2006 in Bucharest. Both founding members are interested in the dynamics of urban culture and in public spaces. In time, they have developed temporary of permanent processes of applied research, participative research, community actions, co-production and co-design, applied education and civic pedagogy. Their projects are artistic installations, publications, education workshops, community interventions, but also design of residential buildings or public facilities.

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