I was fortunate to participate recently in a €1m academic collaborative project funded under the EC Tempus programme, whose principal aim was to enhance Ukrainian education at the masters and PhD level in the field of Architecture and Sustainable Urban Development, by drawing on the expertise of several European institutes of higher education including the University of Cambridge. I made a number of visits to Ukraine between 2012 and 2015 lecturing, providing educational content, but also learning more about policies and practices in a country about which I knew little.
Prydniprovska State Academy of Civil Engineering and Architecture (PSACEA) was one of the Ukrainian partners and is based in Dnipro, Ukraine, an extraordinary city which was at the heart of the Soviet missile and rocket building after the second world war. So significant was it militarily that it was closed to foreign visitors between 1959 and 1987. Today Dnipro remains a heavily industrialised city, home to advanced manufacture and technologies, but there are many redundant industrial sites for which new uses need to be found.
PSACEA is a leading academic institution in Ukraine and it has been a pleasure to collaborate with colleagues there, in particular the Vice Rector Professor Borys Dikarev who was the main participant from PSACEA in the EC Tempus project and who visited Cambridge last year. As Director of Cambridge’s Interdisciplinary Design for the Built Environment programme, I arranged for our masters students to undertake as a short intensive design project, masterplanning of the Zapadnyi district which is a large partly redundant brownfield site in Dnipro. With the support of Professor Dikarev’s colleagues, students from Cambridge and PSACEA successfully worked together via video-conferencing.
It was to my surprise that PSACEA offered to award me an honorary doctorate, which I was delighted to accept.
Sebastian Macmillan, Director, IDBE Masters Programme