All Things What?

15.02.2019, Valeria Danin

Hey! It’s Valeria, from All Things Urban. We met a while ago, but never had a chance to get to know each other. I think it’s time to fix that – to tell you my story and share the philosophy behind All Things Urban. 5 years ago I was finishing my degree in economics in Moscow. I didn’t know much about cities, and wouldn’t tell architecture and urban design apart. Not that I wasn’t curious, but planning in post-Soviet Russia was a whole different thing. Like everything else in the USSR, city matters were stripped from politics, and as a result, were of no concern to the general public. Many years after the country collapsed, most cities still carried the communist legacy, with no intention whatsoever to adapt to market realities. {{Moscow 1968:Moscow, 1968. [Here]( are some more awesome photos of the city from the 20s to the 80s.}} In 2010, things began to change: Moscow’s new management started paying attention to the newest global urbanisation trends, and the city started undergoing a massive (and even controversial) change. One of the main drivers of this new municipal agenda was Moscow Urban Forum, where I happened to work at the time. That's how I came to know about cities – and these incredibly complex and dynamic systems fascinated me so much, that I decided to dedicate my career to the subject. Since then, I completed my Master’s degree in Urban Studies and took part in tens of project, gaining knowledge about very different fields, from urban regeneration and street design to mobility and urban innovation. And yet, I struggle to name my profession, especially since I can’t call myself an urban planner – at least, that's not what my diploma says. Describing my rather diverse career, I use the word “urbanist”, but still fail to explain to my mom in plain terms what it is exactly I’m doing :( After living and working in many places (Moscow, London, Berlin and Tel Aviv, just to name a few) and meeting a lot of different people, I realised I wasn’t the only one: a lot of people in the urban sector struggle to define their profession, especially when they study or work on multidisciplinary or innovative subjects, which becomes more and more common. {{New Moscow: Moscow, 60 years later – a new park by [Wowhaus](, one of the best local practices.}} And it’s more than an individual issue – if there is no unified name and no common terminology, it’s pretty impossible to build an ecosystem around it and ensure knowledge exchange. Sure, in every country there are some local associations, movements and platforms – but they’re incredibly fragmented, inaccessible to younger people, and rarely progressive enough to embrace all the innovation going on in the field. With this in mind, we created All Things Urban, a platform aimed at making it easier for you to navigate the ever-changing urban profession and connect with thousands of like-minded people all over the world. We want to shape a new language, reflecting modern trends and new approaches to tackling city challenges – and we want to do it together! We’re starting this blog to talk about all things urban (ha!), spread cool ideas and share professional insights (that aren't completely trivial, for a change). But really, we want to get in touch and learn more about your unique views. Now that you know my story, tell how you got into urbanism and what it means for you at [yourstor[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])!