Conflict in Cities © 2007 All Rights Reserved
Conflict in Cities is supported by the Economic and Social Research Council of Great Britain (grant number: RES-060-25-0015)

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Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge
1-5 Scroope Terrace, Cambridge CB2 1PX, UK
Gruia Badescu

Educational Background and Experience:

Gruia received his BA in Geography and International Studies from Middlebury College, USA and his MSc in City Design and Social Science from the Cities Programme at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), bridging the studies of nationalism and urbanism.

After writing a senior thesis on architecture and politics in post-war reconstruction in Germany, he won a grant from the National Geographic Society to research the relationship between architectural reconstruction and post-war reconciliation in Beirut and Sarajevo.
Nationalism: Gruia worked  as a researcher on the Nations and Nationalism: A Global Historical Overview project at Middlebury College (Prof. Guntram Herb), which resulted in a volume published in 2008.

Urban revitalization: His professional experience focused on integrated urban development and regeneration in both post-socialist and post-conflict cities. Gruia worked for Space Syntax Romania on the drafting of the Integrated Urban Development Plan for Central Bucharest. He has also done research and written policy briefings on historic city centre revitalization, public space improvement, and sustainable mobility for the Center for Sustainable Destinations of the National Geographic Society, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and a variety of NGOs.


Working Title of Thesis: 

To Rebuild a City: Urban Post-War Reconstruction and Coming to Terms With the Past

Abstract / main Argument:

Badescu’s PhD research focuses on how architects and planners have addressed issues of coming to terms with the past in urban reconstruction in three contexts, differentiated by the perceived nature of war and political responsibility. The first selected context is reconstruction in a society where the blame for the war is placed externally and reconstruction reasserts the nation. The second, is the reconstruction of cities in a defeated state, which is seen as the perpetrator, where reasserting the nation is a political taboo. The third, consists of cases in which destructive conflict comes from within the state, as in civil wars, where coming to terms with the past comes in the form of reconciliation. The dissertation will examine how different perceptions of conflict and responsibility influence architectural design and planning and can contribute to the understanding of urban post-war reconstruction.

Other activities:
Gruia is one of the conveners of the interdisciplinary City Seminar at CRASSH – The Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities.  The seminar aims to investigate the urban realm as an intersection of political, economic, social, and cultural factors through bi-weekly lectures and discussions.

Selected Publications:
‘Politics, Architecture and Identity in Rebuilding West Germany’ s Cities after the Second World War’  (forthcoming 2012) in Ledvinka, Václav şi Pešek, Jiří (eds.) European cities within the period of the World War II’s end up to the Cold War´s end (1945-1989) (Documenta Pragensis), Prague: Archiv hlavního města.

‘Beyond the Green Line: Sustainability and Beirut's post-war reconstruction’ , Development (2011) 54(3), 358–367.

 ‘The good, the bad, and the ugly: shaping a methodology for the evaluation of public spaces in Romania’ (2011) in Duijzings, Ger; Dumitriu, Simona; Kiraly, Aurora (eds.) Cities Methodologies Bucharest, Bucharest: UNARTE

Recent conference presentations:

Nationalism and the City: Destruction, Urban Reconstruction and Post-War Reconciliation in Sarajevo and Beirut, 17th Annual ASN World Convention: The Wages of Nationhood: Conflicts, Compromises, and Costs, Columbia University, New York, April 2012.

Healing the City: The Role of Architectural Reconstruction in Post‐War Reconciliation in Sarajevo and Beirut.  Stadtkolloquium Annual Workshop. UCL, London, March 2012.

The Production of Beirut's Urban Environment in War and Reconstruction. The 4th International Conference on Hazards and Modern Heritage, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, June 2011

Steel-Town Makeover: Evaluating Urban Regeneration in Bilbao and Sheffield.The 4th International Conference on Hazards and Modern Heritage, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Hercegovina, June 2011

Spaţiul public în oraşul românesc contemporan (Public space in the contemporary Romanian city). Atelierul Oraşul Contemporan (The Contemporary City Workshop), Universitatea Babeş-Bolyai, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, April 2011

Re-shaping places, re-shaping memory: post-war reconstruction in Sarajevo and Beirut.  10th International SIEF Conference: People make places, Lisbon, Portugal, April 2011




PhD Students:

Anita Bakshi
Architecture, University of Cambridge (Nicosia)

Giulia Carabelli
Sociology, Queens University Belfast (Mostar)

Monika Halkort
Sociology, Queens University Belfast (Nahr al-Bard refugee camp, Tripoli, Lebanon)

Konstantin Kastrissianakis
Architecture, University of Cambridge (Beirut)

Karl O'Connor
Politics, University of Exeter (Brussels, Nicosia and Beirut)

Linda Rootamm
Sociology, Queens University Belfast (Berlin)

Kelsey Shanks
Politics, University of Exeter (Kirkuk)

Affiliated Graduates

Gruia Badescu
Architecture, University of Cambridge

Brendan Browne
Sociology, Queens University Belfast (Ramallah/Belfast

Andrew Hoolachan
Architecture, University of Cambridge (London

Irit Katz Feigis
Architecture, University of Cambridge

Annie Kane-Horrigan
Sociology, Queens University Belfast