How and why did Soviet and British town planners seek to learn from each other?
What were the implications of these knowledge exchanges?

These are some of questions Stephen Ward (Oxford Brookes), Ian Cook (Northumbria University) and Kevin Ward (University of Manchester) have been asking in a set of research projects exploring the links and exchanges between town planners in the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom.

Their work has considered the physical journeys and networks that brought these groups into dialogue, and the representation of their travels in the media and trade journals. A recent article in International Journal of Urban and Regiona Research examines a 22 day study tour of the Soviet Union undertaken in May and June 1958 by six British planners (including the then-Chairman of the Town and Country Planning Association, Frederic J. Osborn who subsequently toured Poland). 

This work is linked to a wider project on the study tours of the Town and Country Planning Association (more information available available here).

Top: British planners outside the Kremlin in Moscow, 1958 Bottom: Soviet delegates shown plans for the new town of Glenrothes by its chief architect and planner, Peter Tinto (nearest camera), 1957

Top: British planners outside the Kremlin in Moscow, 1958
Bottom: Soviet delegates shown plans for the new town of Glenrothes by its chief architect and planner, Peter Tinto (nearest camera), 1957

Project outputs

Publications

Cook, I. R., Ward, S. V. and Ward, K. (2014) A springtime journey to the Soviet Union: Post-war planning and policy mobilities through the Iron Curtain. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 38 (3): 805-822. [free pdf]

Ward, S. V., Cook, I. R. and Ward, K. (2013) Lesson learning – from Liverpool to Moscow… Town and Country Planning 82 (7): 344-347. [free pdf]

Ward, S. V. (2012) Soviet communism and the British planning movement: Rational learning or utopian imagining? Planning Perspectives 27 (4): 499-524. [available here]

Presentations

Cook, I. R. (2012) A Springtime visit to the Soviet Union: Post-war planning and policy tourism through the Iron Curtain. Association of American Geographers annual conference, New York City, March 2012. [pdf] 

For more details please contact Stephen Ward (svward [at] brookes.ac.uk), Ian Cook (ian.cook [at] northumbria.ac.uk) or Kevin Ward (kevin.ward [at] manchester.ac.uk).