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Collective practices vs. the Neoliberal City?

ucyow3c29 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…)

UCL Bartlett Development Planning Unit at UN Habitat III Conference

ucyow3c24 October 2016

pencil-iconWritten by Alexander Macfarlane, UCL Bartlett Development Planning Unit

Last week in Quito, Ecuador, more than 36,000 global urban actors gathered for Habitat III, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, culminating in the adoption of a “New Urban Agenda”, meant to guide the actions of national governments in pursuit of a more sustainable urbanisation.

The conference aimed to build on the work of Habitat II in Istanbul in 1996 and Habitat I in Vancouver in 1976. Habitat III represents the opportunity to make a real transformative commitment in pursuit of a sustainable and just urban future, and will coordinate global action on sustainable urbanization for the next 20 years.

The Bartlett Development Planning Unit (DPU) at UCL have actively been contributing to the Habitat III between 17th – 20th October, and were represented by 11 academics in Quito, with staff members participating and contributing to 15 official events.

 

Quito

Prosperity in a rapidly urbanising world: where do we go from here?

ucyow3c22 January 2015

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Written by Hannah Sender, Research Assistant, UCL Institute for Global Prosperity

Brasilia, Brazil

Credit: Scott Wallace, World Bank.

Is urbanisation even an issue?

It is a widely-known and oft-cited fact that, as of 2007, more than 50% of the world’s population live in urban areas. The factors for this rapid change are hugely debated: are we realising a teleological Modernist project, or do we make decisions regarding where we live based purely on income? It is the case, however, that most of us experience the consequences of this development every day.

In recognition of these problems, the urban ecology is now foremost in academia’s agenda: one of the four UCL Grand Challenges is ‘Sustainable Cities’. The recently launched UCL Institute for Global Prosperity has taken the issue of urbanisation as a primary focus for some of its nascent projects.

As part of the Institute for Global Prosperity’s Soundbites series – a series of short lectures and conversations held at lunchtimes on questions around wellbeing and prosperity – Professor Julio D. Dávila, Director of the UCL Bartlett Development Planning Unit, gave a public talk last Thursday on the possibility for prosperity in rapidly urbanising contexts.

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What does the future hold for London beyond the 2012 Games?

news editor20 March 2012

By PhD Planning Studies students Gabriel Silvestre & Lucy Natarajan

Many Londoners are wondering what will happen after the Olympic Games in London this summer, especially those studying planning at UCL. At the time of writing, the university is in talks with the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC), the body tasked with managing the development of the Olympic 2012 venues after the Games are over. They are discussing a potential additional campus in Newham, next to the Olympic Park. Lessons from the Bartlett School of Planning’s latest London Planning Seminar demonstrate that there is a wide range of factors that can help shape the future of London’s East End.

Kathryn Firth, Chief of Design at the OPLC and Professor John Gold from Oxford Brookes University spoke at a double-bill seminar on the evening of 15th March. The event, entitled ‘Olympic Planning: London Beyond 2012’, focused on evaluating the developmental trajectories of Olympic host cities, including London and others. These distinguished speakers shared their experiences and knowledge, and explored post-Olympic scenarios for London. They asked: What does the history of the Olympics tells us about the urban outcomes? How will the planned Olympic spaces integrate with the wider area? How does London’s post-Olympic work compare with the experiences of previous urban regeneration programmes?

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