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The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Collective reflections about development practice and cities


DPU bloggers

Julia Azevedo Moretti (Sao Paulo, Brazil)

Julia is a lawyer, graduated at the Law School of the University of São Paulo, specialized in Urban Law and Housing Rights, with Master Degree on Environment and Sustainable Development at the Development Planning Unit (DPU). Has a significant experience in informal settlement regularization, having worked on federal and local governmental offices. Currently works at an NGO in Sao Paulo in legal aid to those threatened with eviction in Sao Paulo. Most interested in discussing the challenges and innovations to improve living conditions and secure tenure in informal settlements, eviction cases as well as legal tools to ensure housing rights and access to Justice.

Topic of discussion: housing rights.

Tina Maria Ziegler (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

I’m currently working as a young professional in a renewable energy and energy efficiency programme within the German-Brazilian Cooperation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  I realised at a young age that I want to see the world and leave a positive impact behind. Since a teacher at high school got me really excited about the idea of using ‘free’ energy from the sun I became engineer for environmental technologies and renewable energies at the FHTW Berlin. After some time working for a consultancy in sustainable building services in London I decided to further widen my horizon towards more social and political issues to be able to contribute with a wider approach to projects all over the world and not only by understanding the technical side. Therefore I studied a MSc of Environment and Sustainable Development at the DPU London. My main professional interests are sustainable energy, housing and food and how to pursue a harmonious and participatory way of living whilst challenging existing paradigms. I have project experience in Nepal, UK, Ghana, Germany and Brazil. Personally I love to explore the world and listen to stories.
In my blogs I will be writing about environment in all its facet’s.

Camillo Boano (London, UK)

I’m a qualified architect with a Master Degree in Urban Development and a PhD in Planning which combine my interests in spatial production, transformations, urbanism with the exceptional circumstances of disasters, conflict and displacement. My work and research interests are focused on urban development, design and urban transformations, shelter and housing interventions, reconstruction and recovery in conflicted areas and divided cities, and on the linkages between society, space and built environment. I worked and undertook researches and consultancies in Nicaragua, Ecuador, Venezuela, Salvador, Occupied Territories, Lebanon, Jordan, Bosnia Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo, Sri Lanka, India and Indonesia.
I’m also reviewer of Disasters, International Development Planning Review, Urban Design and Planning Journal, Journal of Refugee Studies; associate lecturer in the department of Planning, Oxford Brookes University in Oxford, and visiting lecturer at University of Bologna and Polytechnic of Turin (Italy).

Alexandre Apsan Frediani (London,UK)

Alex is a lecturer in Community-led Development in the Global South at the Development Planning Unit. He is also an associate of Architecture Sans Frontieres-UK, organizing for the last two years workshops on participatory design in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil (city where he comes from originally). His posts will be drawing from past and current work to explore the role of the practitioner and researcher in ‘development’. Alex is keen to provide some short insights on his experiences to hopefully generate discussions about why and how we should engage in this field so called development.

Laura Colloridi (Pune, India)

I’m an architect with special interest in socio-environmental issues in developing countries. Living and travelling to the poorest areas of Mexico during my undergraduate degree made me realise that I wanted to work in similar contexts. The MSc ‘Building and Urban Design in Development’ at DPU has been for me the bridge between architecture and the development field. After the broad insight that the DPU gave me, I’ve decided to move to India and to merge theory and practice. Here in Pune I’m continuing my studies (‘Water and Environmental Management’, WEDC, Loughborough University) and working with a NGO called Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR). With WOTR I’m currently researching the topic of Environmental Health in India and managing a project for the improvement of water, sanitation and solid waste management in rural areas in Maharashtra.
In my blogs I will be writing about environmental issues gathered as part of my research in the rural India.

Michael Walls (London, UK)

Michael is the Course Director for the MSc in Development Administration and Planning at DPU and he teaches a module on ‘development in practice’. For the past seven years he has had an interest in the Horn of Africa and the Somali territories in particular. He was one of coordinators of the international election observation for the 2010 presidential elections in Somaliland, and he wrote his doctoral thesis on state formation in that country. In this blog, Michael will be writing around the themes of the role and nature of the state, Somali political development and the practice of development. On the last theme, he is particularly interested in the linkages between theory and practice and the way that ideas of what development is or should be have a tendency to alter the practice without a fully conscious understanding of that impact amongst practitioners. Sometimes these themes may converge and sometimes they won’t. He is pretty sure that he will not always be quite sure which theme he is writing about at any given moment, but promises to do his best to try and achieve  some degree of coherence nevertheless…

Pooja Varma (Washington DC and  Bombay)

After finishing my BA in Psychology, I did my MSc in Building and Urban Design in Development. The experience working with urban development issues of informality, poverty, space, and urban regeneration allowed me to combine my social science background with my interest in design and inspired me to pursue urban planning. I completed my second MSc in International Planning from the Bartlett and hope to combine the technical training of an urban planner and development practitioner. Having spent my childhood in Ahmedabad, a city that has been plagued with earthquakes, flood and communal riots, as well as one to adopt some of the most progressive planning policies of India, I am especially interested in post disaster reconstruction, community engagement and participatory processes that create self reliant and resilient communities. As a planner, I am also keen to emphasize the link between people’ s perception and interaction with space and the built environment as a crucial aspect of planning livable, interesting and enjoyable cities.
My writings will be broadly based on my interest in urban issues and challenges of city management and planning.

Diana Daste (London, UK)

I am A Colombian political scientist with professional experience on project planning and management, journalism and community development. I Finished a MSc in Social Development Practice at UCL in 2010. My academic experience at the DPU has equipped me with a comprehensive knowledge of the different dimensions of development, pointing out the need to plan, investigate and evaluate different forms of sustainable development while understanding the responses and implications of different paradigms, particularly in the South. I find myself interested in researching how the politics of inclusion and poverty reduction in a globalised system are made operational and impact different social identities.
For this reason, my dissertation proposed key elements to be considered when mainstreaming social inclusion in developmental interventions. I am currently working as a research assistant for the Project entitled: Local governance, mobility and poverty reduction: Lessons from Medellin, Colombia, which aims to evaluate the impact that air Cables as means for public transportation may have in social inclusion, poverty reduction and urban development. Medellin is the case studied.

Katarina Soltesova (London, UK)

Katarina’s background is in social anthropology, which she studied at University College Utrecht and at the Central European University in Budapest. An attempt at studies in architecture and work with human rights NGOs focusing on minority housing and multicultural education policy reassured her about the importance of urban planning. Her interest in developing countries cities may be explained by some formative years lived in the Algerian Sahara. To some, the desert may explain her urban focus. She has recently finished DPU’s MSc in Urban Development Planning.