Habitat Unit

September 12 – 13, 2016 | TU Berlin

Syrian Urban Research Network

Since 2011, Syrian cities and urban areas are witnessing mass destruction due to the militarized conflict. Urbicide, which resonates to the shifting boundaries of territorial sovereignties, has not only damaged buildings and infrastructures, but has also changed the demographic structure of the population, introduced new local and external actors, affected tangible and intangible heritage, and produced a whole new set of spatial practices ranging from informality and encampment, to resistance, resilience and adaptive reuse. Amidst these turbulent processes and challenging situations, research stands as a key for understanding, reflecting and learning from this and other experiences. Foremost, it becomes a backdrop on which post-war narratives could be constructed. In response, the Habitat Unit (Chair of International Urbanism and Design) at the School of Architecture in the Technische Universität Berlin, with the support of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)* & the German Ministry of Exterior, is organizing a workshop to initiate the Syrian Urban Research Network (SURN) which will take place on September, 12-13, 2016 at the TU Berlin, Germany. The workshop is a first step towards creating a collaborative platform amongst Syrian students in the diaspora, academics and experts working on topics regarding urban issues in and about Syria. Our approach builds on interdisciplinary discourses on topics related to: resources (water-, land-, heritage management), urban informality, coping mechanisms, resilience, adaptive reuse, civil society empowerment, post-war scenarios and reconstruction strategies.

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Objectives and Expected Outcomes

The SURN workshop will explore the academic research related to current spatial dynamics and the urban future of Syria, and will discuss initiatives of civil society aiming to reconstruct damaged areas and to support the affected communities. Through understanding the current situation, we are aiming at arriving to common values regarding Syria’s urban future.

Knowing that a key challenge currently faced by researchers is how to conduct research on Syria from abroad, the main objective of the workshop is to connect students with researchers, experts and practitioners working on the field. The structure will combine presentations, panel discussions, interdisciplinary roundtables and thematic group work. Different lectures will be given by experts to draw on other positive and negative experiences of post-war reconstruction from cities like Berlin and Beirut. For that, visits to selected sites in Berlin will also take place.

The expected outcomes of the workshop are the creation of a network of academics working on post-war reconstruction, encouragement of academic collaboration, establishment of a platform of exchange for ideas related to the topic and forging a common ground for further initiatives. 

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Workshop Information+

Eligibility Criteria 

Particpants should:

  • Be students or graduates at masters, phd and post-doc levels.
  • Come from disciplines of Architecture, Urban Planning, Sociology, Engineering, History, Political Science, Law, Economics, or relevant fields.
  • Have previous or current research related to topics targeting the urban situation in Syria such as resource management, urban informality, coping mechanisms, resilience, adaptive reuse, civil society empowerment, post-war scenarios and reconstruction strategies, are welcome to apply.
  • Can be affiliated with NGOs focusing on civil society empowerment or resilience projects inside of Syria, or be individuals who have access to knowledge or data related to current projects / efforts in reconstruction in Syria. 

Up to 20 particpants coming from these different disciplines will be selected. DAAD scholarship holders are highly encouraged to apply.

The workshop covers accommodation costs from September 11-13, 2016 (3 nights). Transportation costs to and from Berlin will be reimbursed during the workshop upon presentation of tickets and invoices.

Application Requirements Eligible candidates must submit an application (in English) containing the following information: 
- A Filled Application Form
- A concise CV (A4, max.2 pages)

Note that incomplete applications or those not meeting the submission criteria will not be reviewed.

Apply by August 22, 2016 with your applications as one single PDF document to surn.team@gmail.com


Ayham Dalal

Lea Ksayer

Nathalie Bekdache

Room A 409 
T + 49 – 30 – 314 – 22588
F + 49 – 30 – 314 – 21907