The Soviet city as a landscape in the making

Aerial view of Samarkand in 2020 showing the old city (yellow), the colonial city (green), and Soviet-era apartment blocks and micro-rayons (orange). The areas of the city that are not coloured feature a mix of private dwellings, commercial and administrative buildings. The white box indicates the boundaries of the map by Ernst Giese (see Figure 1). Numbers indicate the approximate location of respondents’ houses
(c) Copernicus Sentinel data 2020, modified by the authors.

Following the launch of the mass housing campaign under Nikita Khrushchev, the cityscape of Soviet Samarkand still remains some changes and continuities of it. This paper examines the planning, building, appropriation, and renovation of public and private housing on the level of practices rather than policies and discourses. It relates these practices to the specific temporalities of Samarkand’s landscape, such as the life cycles of inhabitants, the change of seasons, or the timelines of material decay, among others. Continue reading “The Soviet city as a landscape in the making”

Freshly published: Geofroum Editorial on informalities in urban transport and mobility

This editorial introduces and contextualises the Special Issue on informalities in urban transport and mobility in cities across the Global South, East and North. It identifies a mutual misrecognition between the urban studies literature on informality and research on transport and mobilities, and proposes that urban mobility be understood as a critical site of contestations over (in)formalisation processes. Continue reading “Freshly published: Geofroum Editorial on informalities in urban transport and mobility”

The Journey of the Second Hand Trams


At the end of a long service life, Streetcars do not necessarily end up on the scrap heap in Germany. Some are given a second home in other operations. Since 1990, 49 transport companies have handed over a total of 3,745 discarded streetcars to cities outside Germany. The fascinating complexity of this phenomenon was the motivation for Lukas Adolphi, Wladimir Sgibnev and Tonio Weicker to investigate the destinations and the further use of used streetcar vehicles from German companies in more detail. One result of these investigations are maps showing the manifold travel routes of individual vehicles.

Continue reading “The Journey of the Second Hand Trams”

Mobilty Forum: ‘Tensions on Tracks’ and ‘Bike-sharing practice’

The Mobility Forum at TUB invites us to join on 19.05.2022, 10:00-12:00 (Berlin time zone, UTC+1). Topics of the session are going to be Tensions on tracks: The closure of the tramline routes in the course of the opening of the Subway in Sofia, presented by Dr. Lyubomir Pozharliev and Urban growth, transport system and environment: a comparative study of Bike-sharing practice, presented by Bermet Borubaeva (Bishkek School of Contemporary Art). The Lecture is free of charge and open for everyone. You can join the forum online or in room 3116 in ZTG, TU Berlin, no registration needed.

More information here.

“The self-colonizing metaphor” – Prof. Alexander Kiossev discusses his concept with researchers in Leipzig

Master class with Prof. Alexander Kiossev at that IfL

This article by CoMoDe researcher Lyubomir Pozharliev was first published on the Read the originial article here

From 28 November to 4 December 2021, the IfL and many research facilities in Leipzig had a very exciting and tense week together with Professor Alexander Kiossev from Sofia University.
Continue reading ““The self-colonizing metaphor” – Prof. Alexander Kiossev discusses his concept with researchers in Leipzig”

Blog Post: What was public transport for the Soviet citizens?

Street in a soviet city, people walking on the street and entering a tramway.

This article is republished from the It is written by Liubov Tugolukova, who was doing an internship within CoMoDe and now works as a student assistent at IfL´s Cartography and visual communication department. Read the original article here.

Soviet public transport inspires a wide range of emotions among citizens who lived in a country that forever disappeared from the world’s political map. Various Internet forums and videos uploaded on YouTube are full of heart-warming stories about the USSR, where the grass was greener, ice cream was tastier, people were friendlier, and life itself was beautiful. It is not surprising that nostalgia about public transport of that time occupies as important a place in the memories of the past as other attributes of a bygone era Continue reading “Blog Post: What was public transport for the Soviet citizens?”

Blog post: One modernity lost, the other out of reach – Contested post-Soviet infrastructures

Infrastructures serve as basis for developmental discourses, preconfigure our ideas, and literally build futures because of their decades-long lifespans. Debates on infrastructures surely relate to materialities – rails, concrete, and wires. However, it is crucial to note that cultures, political regimes, and markets, as well as the (unequal) geographies of knowledge production matter just as prominently.

This article by CoMoDe researchers Lela Rekhviashvili and Wladimir Sgibnev was originally published  in German at Berliner Gazette on 15th April 2021 and in English on on 30th of April.
Continue reading there: EnglishGerman.

Blog post: Unobvious reasons for trolleybus demolition in Moscow

A trolleybus on a broad street. It is snowing and already getting dark. Behind the trolleybus are several cars and a taxi, and in the back there is a house with some shops.
(c) Khusen Rustamov, Pixabay

This article by CoMoDe researcher Egor Muleev is republished from Read the original article here.

Trolleybuses run on electricity from overhead wires mounted on poles above roads. 50% of the world’s trolleybus systems are located in formerly Soviet states. Extending the count to China, North Korea and ex-Eastern Bloc countries brings the percentage up to 76% (213 out of 282 systems). Continue reading “Blog post: Unobvious reasons for trolleybus demolition in Moscow”