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    Archive for the 'Built Environment' Category

    Education Select Committee Brexit hearing session at UCL

    By Melissa Bradshaw, on 9 February 2017

    On 25 January, the Education Select Committee held the second Oral Evidence Session of its inquiry on the effect of Brexit on higher education (HE) at UCL.

    The committee heard evidence from UCL President & Provost Professor Michael Arthur, NUS Vice-President (Higher Education) Sorana Vieru and representatives of University and College Union, Erasmus Student Network UK, Universities UK, the British Council and London Economics.

    There was a strong consensus on the potentially damaging effects of Brexit on HE, and an urgent call for the government to do more to address them.

    Professor Michael Arthur

    Professor Michael Arthur

    The hearing took place just over a week after Theresa May’s historic speech on the UK’s strategy for exiting the European Union, and evidence was heard in two panels.

    The Chair of the Education Committee, Neil Carmichael MP, began each session by asking the panellists for their reaction to the Prime Minister’s speech.

    Every one of the panellists welcomed the tone of the speech and its emphasis on a “global Britain”, but called for immediate action and more specific detail – particularly in regard to the rights of EU citizens to remain in the UK.

    Referring to the Prime Minister’s expressed wish to guarantee the rights of EU citizens, Professor Arthur said: “I’d like to challenge the Prime Minister to go one step further and take the initiative to make the guarantee and challenge the rest of the EU to follow”, arguing that this would give Britain the moral high-ground and provide the negotiations a foundation of good will.

    The committee heard evidence of the significant contribution of the higher education sector to the British economy, including the contributions EU staff and students make to the wider economy when they are residing here.

    Dr Gavan Conlon (London Economics) also argued that, with education the UK’s fifth largest services export, the HE sector can generate revenue that could contribute to the government’s Industrial Strategy.

    The panellists spoke of the positive contributions that EU staff and students make in terms of diversity and ‘soft power’, contributing to Britain’s prestigious academic profile and giving their British peers invaluable experience in international engagement, leadership and collective problem solving. “For a global Britain we need global graduates”, said Rosie Birchard (Erasmus Student Network UK).

    The committee also heard evidence that currently UK HE “punches well above its weight” globally – thanks, in part, to our membership of the EU. Jo Beall (British Council) pointed to statistics showing that the UK leads the world in research quality (by field-weighted citation impact) and 1 in 10 world leaders were educated here.

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    22 Gordon Street receives royal approval

    By Guest Blogger, on 22 December 2016

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    Written by Nathan Capstick, UCL Bartlett Faculty Communications Officer

    Credit: Jack Hobhouse

    Credit: Jack Hobhouse

    With Christmas around the corner, it’s often easy for the celebrations to merge into one. The opening of 22 Gordon Street on Friday 16 December, however, was anything but your regular festive celebration.

    In a day with talks, tours, a visit from royalty and an impressive cake, UCL Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment and its School of Architecture returned home.

    The event itself had been a long time coming; everyone had for years acknowledged the irony that one of the best built environment faculties in the world was housed in, arguably, the worst building on campus.

    (more…)

    Lebanon and the Syrian refugee crisis – lessons to be learnt

    By Guest Blogger, on 12 December 2016

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    Written by Lilian Schofield, UCL Bartlett Development Planning Unit 

    lebanon-refugees-distribution-511x414The debate and discourse surrounding migration and the current refugee crisis is one that can be contentious and to a certain extent emotive bringing about polarised stands amongst different parties. The surge of refugees to the UK and other European countries in the past few years has been a major issue to politicians and consequently, been in the foreground of policy makers as well as a topic of great concern among its citizens.  So serious is this issue that it has been regarded as a major emergency and the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel stated that ‘the issue of asylum could be the next major European project’ (Berry et al 2016).

    Read more on the UCL Bartlett Development Planning Unit blog.

     

    Collective practices vs. the Neoliberal City?

    By Guest Blogger, on 29 November 2016

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    Written by Harshavardhan R Jatkar, UCL Bartlett Development Planning Unit 

     

    Has democracy failed to resist the neoliberal vision of the city and does architecture have anything to contribute to the debate? A presentation by Leonardo Cappetto, an architect and co-founder of Grupo TOMA, came as a fresh and potent ray of hope on Thursday evening – 17th November 2016. Thanks to Dr. Camilo Boano, Leonardo was invited to present at the Development Planning Unit.

    His presentation commenced by juxtaposing the rise of populist right-wing politicians almost all around the world and the seeming demise of an alternative to the neoliberal city. But the optimism rose as he presented the work done by the Chile based collective – Grupo TOMA towards attempting to find that alternative.

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    The promise of an alternative reflected within the very structure of Grupo TOMA, defying the norms that governed the 20th century professional world.

    Grupo TOMA is a collective of architects without any hierarchical internal relationships.

    It is a nomad organisation that resents the idea of growth for its sake and it works with temporal communities inherently being denied the chance for any permanent architectural statement.

    What motivates a group of architects to let go of the egotistic practice of the 20th century?

    What inspires their continuing reconciliation with temporal existence?

    Leonardo’s presentation was just a glimpse into some of the aspects that may answer these questions. (more…)