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Department of Architecture



Wendy Pullan is Professor of Architecture and Urban Studies at the University of Cambridge where she was Head of the Department of Architecture 2014-17. She is currently Director of the Centre for Urban Conflicts Research at Cambridge. Professor Pullan has published widely on European and Middle Eastern architecture and cities, examining the processes of urban heritage, conflict and change, both historical and contemporary. Her recent publications include: Locating Urban Conflicts (2013), The Struggle for Jerusalem’s Holy Places (2013) and Architecture and Pilgrimage 1000-1500: Southern Europe and Beyond (2013). She is a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge. Further details:


Conflict in Cities and the Contested State

Everyday life and the possibilities for transformation in Belfast, Jerusalem and other divided cities


Project leaders:
Dr Wendy Pullan, Architecture, University of Cambridge
Professor James Anderson, Geography, Queens University Belfast
Professor Mick Dumper, Politics, University of Exeter
Professor Liam O’Dowd, Sociology, Queen’s University Belfast

'Conflict in Cities and the Contested State' is a five year research project starting in 2007 that focuses on divided cities as key sites in territorial conflicts over state and national identities, cultures and borders. The research objectives are to analyse how divided cities in Europe and the Middle East have been shaped by ethnic, religious and national conflicts, and conversely, how such cities can absorb, resist and potentially play a role in transforming the territorial conflicts which pervade and surround them. The project seeks to understand the cities as arenas of intensified ethno-national conflicts, particularly with respect to the role that architecture and the urban fabric play as a setting and background for everyday activities and events. Phenomena related to creating, maintaining, crossing, transcending or ignoring ethnic and territorial borders, both physical and symbolic, are central to the study.

The main research sites are Belfast and Jerusalem, two very distinctive cities - one firmly embedded in the West and one central to the Middle East - and both at different stages of national conflict and peace-building. A team of researchers from three UK universities, Cambridge, Exeter and Queen’s Belfast, will lead the multi-disciplinary initiative that includes: architecture, urban studies, politics, geography and sociology. Teams reflecting the divisions being researched will carry out work in situ in Belfast and Jerusalem. Six PhD students will be attached to the programme and, in conjunction with an international network of academics and practitioners attached to the project, will consider other divided cities, such as Nicosia, Mostar, Berlin, Brussels, Beirut and Kirkuk. Within this overall project framework a contextual and comparative approach will be developed to explore wider issues of urban conflict and the possibilities for resolution.

'Conflict in Cities and the Contested State' is generously funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) of Great Britain. It builds on an earlier project begun in 2003 and supported by the ESRC

Professor Wendy Pullan
Professor of Architecture and Urban Studies
Former Head of Department 2014-17
Clare College (Professorial Fellow)
Director of Studies for Clare College
Professor Wendy  Pullan

Contact Details

01223 332962