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Gruia Badescu

Gruia Badescu

Gruia Badescu

Clare College

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

Supervisor: Dr Wendy Pullan


Gruia Badescu is a PhD Candidate at the Centre for Urban Conflicts Research and a Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Scholar. Gruia's  PhD research is examining the relationship between the reconstruction of cities after war and the process of coming to terms with the past, focusing on Belgrade and Sarajevo.

Gruia holds a MSc degree in City Design and Social Science from the Cities Programme at the LSE and a BA with Highest Honors from Middlebury College, Vermont, USA, where he graduated with a thesis on architecture and politics in the reconstruction of cities in West Germany. Before joining the team at Cambridge, he researched with a National Geographic Society Grant the uses of architecture and urban design in the process of post-war reconciliation in Beirut and Sarajevo and was involved in urban design and integrated urban development/strategic planning for UNDP, the Center for Sustainable Destinations at National Geographic Society, Space Syntax Romania and a number of NGOs in Romania, Armenia, Georgia and Moldova. 

Teaching at Cambridge:

Gruia is a lecturer for the course "Divided Cities: The Politics of Mapping and Design" . He is also a supervisor on Parts I, IIA and IIB of the Architecture Tripos for the courses

- Urban Issues Today

- Studies in Urban Planning and Design

- Critical Theory and Modern Architecture

- Gardens and Landscapes

- Islamic Architecture

He also supervises and assesses BA dissertations and has supervised MPhil students in the Master of Architecture and Urban Design.


Selected Recent Conference Presentations and Talks:

Making Sense of Ruins: Urban Reconstruction and Mastering the Past in Belgrade and Sarajevo. “Memories and Identities in Central and Eastern Europe” International conference, Trinity College Dublin, May 2015.

 Reimagining the Stari Grad  – Urban Reconstruction, Socialist Utopia  and Nation-Building in Belgrade and Sarajevo (1945-2000). “Produkt Altstadt – The Making of the Old Town. Eine Bestandsaufnahme” International Conference. Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg, May 2015.

 Making Sense of Ruins: Urban Reconstruction and Collective Memories of War in Belgrade and Sarajevo. Association for the Study of Nationalities 20th Annual Conference, Columbia University, NYC, April 2015.

 Rethinking Urban Geopolitics: Post-War Reconstruction and Politics of the Past in Belgrade And Sarajevo. Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting, Chicago, April 2015.

 Making Sense of Ruins: Architects, Reconstruction and Memory in Belgrade. “The 1999 NATO Bombing: Memories, Narratives and Histories” Workshop. Center for Comparative Conflict Studies, Faculty of Media and Communications (FMK), Singidunum University, Belgrade, Serbia, February 2015.

 Beyond Contested and Ordinary Cities: Urban Reconstruction in Belgrade and Sarajevo. Royal Geographical Society Annual Conference. London, August 2014.

 Urban reconstruction and coming to terms with the past in Belgrade and Sarajevo. Centre for South-East European Studies, University of Graz, June 24th 2014.

Post-war reconstruction and coming to terms with the past in Belgrade and Sarajevo after the Second World War. La Cattolica University of Milan, June 5th 2014. 

Urban reconstruction and coming to terms with the past. Metamorphoses of the City. International Graduate Workshop. La Sapienza University of Rome, May 2014.

Urban reconstruction and refugees in the post-conflict city: A study of Belgrade and Sarajevo. 5th International Urban Geographies of Post-Communist States Conference, Tbilisi,  September 2013

Post-conflict architectures: Coming to terms with the past and urban reconstruction. Coming to Terms with the Past Hrant Dink Memorial Workshop, Sabanci Universitesi, Istanbul, June 2013.

 (Post-) colonial encounters and resistance: architectural reconstruction in Sarajevo. Post-Yugoslav Spaces through the Postcolonial Prism, Manchester, June 2013

 Violent space: readings of urban memory and anxiety in Sarajevo. Uncertainty and Disquiet. 12th European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) Biennial Conference, Paris, France, July 2012.

Inner Border: Divisions and Transformations in Post-War Sarajevo. 10th International Border Crossings Network Conference. (Re)Searching Europe: Narrating the Past, making the Present and imagining the Future. Istanbul, Yeditepe Univesity, April 2012.

 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.

Research Interests

- urban reconstruction

- public space

- heritage as a public good

- urban and architectural history of Europe and the Middle East, socialism and post-socialist transitions

- coming to terms with the past, nationalism, nation-building

Key Publications

‘City Makers, Urban Reconstruction and Coming to Terms with the Past in Sarajevo’ (2014) In Kotzen, Bronwyn and Sofia Garcia (ed.) Reconstructing Sarajevo: Negotiating Socio-political Complexity. London: LSE Cities.


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

‘Politics, Architecture and Identity in Rebuilding West Germany’ s Cities after the Second World War’  (2011) 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.

‘Nation-Building and Empire: The Case of Soviet Moldova’ (2009) Geopolitica, Nr. 29, 5/2009.

‘Introduction: Nationalism between 1770 and 1880’ (with prof. Guntram Herb) (2008) in Guntram Herb and David Kaplan (eds.) Nations and Nationalism: A Global Historical Overview. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC Clio.

 ‘Nationalism between 1880 and 1945’ (with prof. Guntram Herb) (2008) in Guntram Herb and David Kaplan (eds.) Nations and Nationalism: A Global Historical Overview. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC Clio.