The New Normal at the Strelka Institute is a three-year speculative urbanism think-tank, a platform for the invention and articulation of a new discourse and new models. Each year Strelka admits 30 students from around to world to a 5-months postgraduate programme as part of this longer initiative.

Admission period for the New Normal 2017/18 programme is now closed. Visit to learn more about the programme and submit your application.

If you have any questions about the admission process, contact us at

The New Normal programme focuses on research and design for the city and explores opportunities and challenges posed by emerging technologies for interdisciplinary design practices.


  • Postgraduate
  • Multidisciplinary
  • In English
  • Free (+ monthly scholarship)
  • 5 months

The programme will begin on January 31, 2018 and will end in the middle of July 2018.

The New Normal 2017/18 is designed for young designers with diverse backgrounds: architecture, urbanism, film & cinema, interaction design, software design, humanities & social sciences, game design, economics, and more.

The programme redesigns urban design to include not only architecture and infrastructure, but also experience, interaction and economics. During the intensive 5-months programme students will work in small teams to research and develop original speculative interventions and platforms. Urban design projects include spatial plans, but the Strelka programme also emphasizes strategy, cinema and software.

The Program takes place in Moscow and includes research trips within Russia and to China.

Strelka’s experimental programme employs tools and approaches from a wide variety of disciplines and mixes seminar, studio and technical workshops in an alternating sequence of modules that closely link conceptualization and prototyping, one folding into the other. Students will critically engage urban futures in traditional and non-traditional ways: formal analysis, scenario development, site modeling and programming, speculative design, quantitative cultural data analysis and visualization, and the contemporary philosophy of technology, design, and aesthetics. The New Normal researchers engage with technologies and tools including digital video production and compositing, data analysis and visualisation software, virtual / augmented reality applications (3D and cinematic) and advanced software development, including machine vision and machine learning.

The programme is designed and led by Benjamin Bratton (The New Normal Programme Director) – sociological, media, design theorist and author based in California. He is a Professor of Visual Arts and Director of the Center for Design at the University of California, San Diego and Visiting Faculty at SCI_Arc. He has recently published two books of design theory, strategy and fiction. In The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty (MIT Press, 2016) Bratton outlines a new theory for the age of global computation and algorithmic governance. Bratton’s current research project is on theory and design in the age of machine intelligence. In addition to Bratton, Strelka Faculty include Lev Manovich, Liam Young, Keller Easterling, Metahaven as well as Ben Cerveny, Rival (Marta Ferreira De Sá + Benedict Singleton), Etienne Turpin, Petra Blaise, Armen Avanessian, Nicolay Boyadjiev and many others.

The second year of The New Normal design research programme at the Strelka institute builds on the work of the previous year. Learn more about the programme, see the final projects from the previous year and submit your application at

Read Benjamin Bratton’s essay The New Normal – part manifesto and part syllabus. ‘It lays out why we would undertake an urban design programme with such a strong emphasis on emerging technologies and speculative philosophy; or conversely, why we would convene a think-tank on emerging technology and speculative philosophy that takes urbanism — Russian urbanism, in particular — as its assignment’ (Benjamin Bratton).