Dr Camillo Boano

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The Development Planning Unit conducts world-leading research and postgraduate teaching that helps to build the capacity of national governments, local authorities, NGOs, aid agencies and businesses working towards socially just and sustainable development in the global south. We are part of The Bartlett: UCL's global faculty of the built environment.



Dr. Camillo Boano is an architect, urbanist and educator. He is Senior Lecturer at The Bartlett Development Planning Unit, University College of London (UCL), where he directs the MSc in Building and Urban Design in Development. He is also co-director of the UCL Urban Laboratory. Camillo has over 20 years of experiences in research, design consultancies and development work in South America, Middle East, Eastern Europe and South East Asia

A qualified architect with a Masters in Urban Development and a PhD in Planning from Oxford Brookes University, Camillo has over 20 years of experiences in research, design consultancies and development work in South America, Middle East, Eastern Europe and South East Asia. As an academic interested in practice, I combine interests in critical architecture, spatial production, transformations, urbanism with the exceptional circumstances of disasters, conflicts and informality. My interest in investigating the material and dialectical production of spaces emerged out of experiences of being a development practitioner in South America in the early 1990s and in war ravaged Bosnia-Herzegovina.

My research and consultancy roles have included work in Nicaragua, Ecuador, Venezuela, El Salvador, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Bolivia, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Jordan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo, Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Turkey, Malaysia, Cambodia and Thailand. This involved collaborations with numerous institutions, including UNHCR, UNDP, Refugee Study Centre, EU, Oxfam GB, Italian Civil Protection, World Bank and several architectural practices.

 In addition to directing the MSc in Building and Urban Design in Development, I am the Director of the DPUsummerLab initiative http://www.bartlett.ucl.ac.uk/dpu/programmes/summerlab

I am associate lecturer in Oxford Brookes University, University of Bologna, Polytechnic of Turin, Polytechnic of Milan, Roma Tre and Université de Paris Est Créteil Val de Marne, as well as external supervisor at ETH-Zurich, NTNU in Norway and in ESARQ Barcelona and have been an external examiner of PhD dissertations in different universities in the UK and elsewhere.

Prior to joining UCL, I worked in development and architectural practice for a number of years, became a research fellow at the Refugee Studies Centre in Oxford, joined the World Habitat Research Unit in Switzerland, and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology where I worked on a number of research and consultancy projects concerned with environmental forced migration, humanitarian urbanism, temporary shelters, post-disaster housing reconstruction, and communication in emergencies.

Research Summary

My research interests are focused on urban development, contested urbanism, socio-spatial dialectics, design and urban transformations, shelter and housing reconstruction in conflicted areas, divided cities and post-disaster environments. More recently my specific interests on urban design were directed to the reconstruction of design through dissensus, calling for a deeper reorientation between politics and aesthetics, drawing on the theoretical constructions of Lefebvre, Foucault, and Rancière.

In addition to directing the MSc in Building and Urban Design in Development, I am the Director of Communication and coordinate the dpu summerLab http://www.bartlett.ucl.ac.uk/dpu/programmes/visiting-and-exchange at the DPU.
Much of my teaching arises from my research interests, as I explore how an integrated multidisciplinary perspective on space could critically serve to analyze, understand and explain the form, structure, process and dynamics of urban areas. From this base the module also deconstructs and re-calibrates the discipline of urban design. I also examine the importance for urban development of some specific philosophical spatial ontologies (Lefebvre, Foucault and Agamben), the social construction of risks and vulnerabilities in urban areas and the contested nature of the production of effective and just post disaster reconstruction.

I’m author of different publications in academic journals as The Journal of Architecture, DisastersThe Journal of Developing Societies among others and edited a book on humanitarian urbanism and refugee camps tiled Citta Nude. Iconografia dei campi profughi (Franco Angeli, 2005, in italian) and contributed to the book Safer Homes, Stronger Communities: A Handbook
for Reconstructing after Natural Disaster. Washington Dc: World Bank, edited by Jha, K.A, with Duyne Barenstein, J., Phelps, P.M., Pittet,
D.,Sena, S., eds. (2010)
Available at: http://www.housingreconstruction.org). I've just published a book titled "Contested Urbanism in Dharavi. Writings and Projects for the Resilient City" DPU, London, with William Hunter and Caroline Newton https://www.bartlett.ucl.ac.uk/dpu/publications/dpu-book-17

Research outputs

Phnom Penh’s Relocation Sites and the Obliteration of Politics 2017 Talocci G,Boano C
Potentiality, potentials and design research: notes for a subversive ethos 2016 Boano C,Talocci G
Presupposition of equality and active justice in Bangkok 2016 Boano C
Jerusalem as a paradigm. Agamben's ‘whatever urbanism’ to rescue urban exceptionalism 2016 Boano C
Dharavi : where the urban design episteme is falling apart 2016 Boano C
Thinking Design Research: an unfinished story 2016 Boano C,Martén-Cáceres R
The impossible city: short reflections on urbanism, architecture and violence 2016 Boano C
Philosophical thinking as political praxis. Giorgio Agamben and inoperative architecture 2016 Boano C
Lima’s ‘Wall of Shame’ and the gated communities that build poverty into Peru 2016 Boano C,Desmaison B
Crisis-Ridden Space, Politics, and the Social Imaginary: The Case of Athens 2016 Boano C,Gyftopoulou S
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Research activities

(re)constructing the city
Effective humanitarian response in urban areas
Handbook for reconstruction after natural disasters
Human, Social, and Economic Flows: Understanding the Urbanitarian
Socio-spatial dimensions contested environments
Spaces of protection: State of the art
The praxis of Community Architecture
The spatial spatial complexities of informal urbanism
Urban settlements in high risk land: relocation, mitigation and prevention