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Ben Campkin wins Jane Jacobs Book Award

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Remaking London: Decline and Regeneration in Urban Culture by Ben Campkin

Dr Ben Campkin, Director of UCL Urban Laboratory, has received the 2015 Jane Jacobs Urban Communication Foundation Book Award for his book Remaking London: Decline and Regeneration in Urban Culture.

Watching Jeremy, Watching Me, Watching Jeremy

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“What are you looking at?” - Rodrigo Firmino interacting with the Jeremy Bentham Panopticam

In his will, Jeremy Bentham, UCL's "spiritual founder", requested that after his death, his body be displayed in public, in what he called an “Auto-Icon”. His preserved skeleton continues to gaze upon the university in a glass cabinet. Since 2013, a webcam (PanoptiCam) has been installed on the top of the Auto-Icon watching the reaction of passers-by looking at Jeremy’s remains, and broadcasting the images via Twitter and Youtube.

UCL Grand Challenges 2034 Grants

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UCL Grand Challenges 2034 Grants

UCL Grand Challenges have opened up an application process for funding of cross-disciplinary, collaborative, and outwardly-facing activities, costing between £2k and £10k, which ‘address global challenges’ while also supporting the development of at least one other of the principal themes of UCL's 2034 strategy:

UCL East cross-disciplinary student research group: call for participants

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Aerial view of UCL East site: boundary highlighted in red

Professor Michael Stewart is leading a team looking for UCL students in all fields to produce dissertations (at undergraduate and taught postgraduate level) linked to UCL’s new campus and how it will affect the local area. It’s an opportunity to write your dissertation on a topic that’s a big part of the UCL 2034 plan and to be part of a multi-disciplinary team working across UCL, including Dr Clare Melhuish from the Urban Laboratory, whose case study research on university-led regeneration has just been published (see university-led regeneration case study research, and the university-led urban regeration blog).

AAG 2016 Call for Papers - The Architecture of Capital: Rethinking the Geographies of Design in a Planetary Moment

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Shenzhen CBD

Following the emergence of a renewed debate about the relationship of architecture to processes of capitalist urbanisation, a series of opposing conceptions of architectural or design methods have been espoused as either a tool of capital, or as a space of political imagination. Within architecture itself, the discourse similarly moves between the emancipatory politics of an architectural imagination (Lahiji 2014), and the persistence of early Marxist criticism established by Manfredo Tafuri (1979) and Frederic Jameson (1998) that architecture is an integral part of the capitalist project, entrenching existing power relations. 

UCL Urban Laboratory launches university-led urban regeneration case studies

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University-led urban regeneration case studies

UCL Urban Laboratory has today launched five case studies in university and community-led urban regeneration (download below), which explore the role of universities as actors in urban renewal processes, and the potential for communities to engage and take a lead in such processes.

Dr Rodrigo Firmino to investigate surveillance and security in cities as Urban Lab Honorary Senior Research Associate

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Surveillance camera graffiti on road sign

We are pleased to announce that Dr Rodrigo José Firmino is to begin a 12-month position as UCL Urban Laboratory Honorary Senior Research Associate, following a research agenda titled “Connected Spaces, Controlled Movements: Technology, Surveillance, Security, and Cities”.

Urban Laboratory launches Urban Pamphleteer #5: Global Education for Urban Futures

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Urban Pamphleteer #5: Global Education for Urban Futures

Urban Pamphleteer #5: Global Education for Urban Futures (pdf) is now available to read online, simultaneously released with the print edition during a launch at The Bartlett, UCL, on 17 September 2015 as part of the programme for the Urban Lab+ Symposium.

Visiting researcher to the Urban Lab to focus on artists exploring the remnants of industrialisation

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Image for Jeong Hye Kim visiting research announcement

UCL Urban Laboratory is delighted to announce that Jeong Hye Kim will be joining us as a visiting researcher.

Virtual Control exhibition at RIBA extended until Sunday 27 September

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Virtual Control exhibition

Virtual Control, produced by UCL Urban Laboratory with artist and photographer Max Colson, will now be exhibited at RIBA until Sunday 27 September 2015.

Registration open for Urban Lab+ London Symposium on urban education

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Global Urban Higher Education: the Challenges and Potentials of Internationalisation

Registration has opened for the Urban Lab+ London Symposium, taking place at University College London on 16-17 September.

UCL Urban Laboratory presents exhibition at RIBA on privatised public space this summer

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Virtual Control flyer

This summer, The Practice Space at RIBA hosts an exhibition of photography, video and installation by Urban Lab artist-in-residence Max Colson, exploring privatised urban public space and security design.

Cities After Hours: the shift from the diurnal to the nocturnal city

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Sam Nightingale 'The Remains'

Written by David Anderson, MPhil/PhD student, UCL English

Urban Lab Artists-in-Residence display work as part of UCL Festival of the Arts

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Hilary Powell - Urban Alchemy

As part of the 2015 UCL Festival of the Arts, taking place between 18-22 May, UCL's Artists-in-Residence (AiRs) have come together for the first time to exhibit their work and exhange dialogues on the role of art within the diverse academic communities across UCL.

New website documents Ernö Goldfinger's Balfron Tower

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Balfron Tower

Urban Lab tutor David Roberts has launched a new website that collates his three years of doctoral work with current and former residents of Ernö Goldfinger’s Balfron Tower in Poplar, London.

DPU summerLabs 2015 applications open

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DPU summerLabs 2015 poster

Applications are now open for the fifth year of the Development Planning Unit's (DPU) summerLab series.

Urban Lab awarded Leverhulme funding for artist-in-residence to research the Shard

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Shard at night

UCL Urban Laboratory is delighted to announce that UCL has received an award from the Leverhulme Trust to fund Tom Wolseley as artist-in-residence to work with Urban Lab Co-Director Dr Andrew Harris during the academic year 2015/16.

Call for papers: ‘Placing’ culture in urban China: Towards an interdisciplinary dialogue

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Placing culture in urban China

Workshop: 2 July 2015
Submission deadline: 15 May 2015
Response date: 5 June 2015

As the Chinese city transforms, arts and culture are widely used instruments of regeneration and competitive place promotion, and serve as well in the struggle to upgrade from labour-intensive manufacturing to a knowledge-based economy. The distinctive spatial articulations of cultural production in the context of the transitional Chinese city are of critical interest to the ongoing retheorization of the role of cultural production in the twenty-first century city broadly, and point towards possible urban futures for a country in a dynamic state of cultural redefinition. But arts and culture are not just associated with regeneration; they may also be used to contest the meaning and identity of urban space, politicize questions of belonging, and/or resist the insistent displacement pressures that accompany accelerated urbanization.

Interim research findings: university spatial development and urban regeneration

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University regeneration

New university developments are moving away from out of town campuses and focusing on integrated urban sites with good access to amenities and affordable housing. There are also high expectations of universities to lead the way in realising flagship developments which exemplify best practice in urban design, environmental and social sustainability. But universities are complex organisations and such projects require strong leadership, good communications, and solid financial underpinning to be successful.

Urban Pamphleteer is 'Magazine of the Week' on MagCulture

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Urban Pamphleteer featured on MagCulture

MagCulture have featured the Urban Pamphleteer in its 'Magazine of the Week' feature.

Matthew Gandy wins 2014 Meridian Book Award for ‘innovative’ The Fabric of Space

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The fabric of space by Matthew Gandy

Matthew Gandy, Professor of Geography and former Director of the UCL Urban Laboratory (2005-11), has been awarded the 2014 AAG Meridian Book Award for Outstanding Scholarly Work in Geography for his book The Fabric of Space: Water, Modernity, and the Urban Imagination.

Call for Contributions: Urban Pamphleteer #6 Global Education for Urban Futures

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Urban Pamphleteer 1-4

Proposal deadline: Wednesday 25 March, 12pm GMT

Guest Editors: Paola Alfaro d’Alençon, Ben Campkin, Rupali Gupte, Solam Mkhabela, Johannes Novy, Mika Savela

DPU summerLab 2014 pamphlet now available

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Each summer the DPU summerLab hosts a workshop series in cities around the world – seeking to stimulate and provoke a reconsideration of the role of designers in promoting spatial justice. Now, the 2014 series pamphlet is available online. You can download the document (pdf) for free or read the document on issuu.

Call for Papers: Urban Lab+ London Symposium 2015

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Urban Lab +

Global Urban Higher Education: the challenges and potentials of internationalisation

Urban Lab+ London Symposium, 16-17 September 2015

Call for Proposals: Open Source Housing crisis

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Open Source Housing

With a shortfall of 100,000 units per year and a decline in the availability of social tenancies, London's developers and housing associations add to the already considerable cost of housing by charging for the service of organising groups of people with the common need of accommodation. Those in need are often forced to accept precarious dwelling conditions, in buildings that are poorly designed, cheaply constructed and disadvantageously financed. The political and financial structures, such as the mis-alignment of average wages to the GLA’s interpretations of ‘affordability’ and predominance of insecure tenancies, that fuel London’s housing crisis continue to evolve beneath the radar of public scrutiny.


We are convening a workshop concerned to scope communication technologies with potential to disrupt these conditions. This workshop is concerned with the design of network-based tools that would nurture a many-to-many approach to 1) better understanding and engagement with policy changes and relevant expertise; 2) experimenting with alternative models that destabalise the central role of the developer / housing association in decision making about the future of housing in London.

The outcome of this workshop will be a special issue of the Urban Pamphleteer. Our starting vision for this is a catalogue of transformative tools, tactics, and ideas from a variety of perspectives featuring contributions by select workshop participants. Urban Pamphleteer is a series of publications that confront key contemporary urban questions from diverse perspectives. Issues are distributed for free in print and digitally. Urban Pamphleteer is a collaboration between Central Saint Martins and the UCL Urban Laboratory.


The workshop takes place on 13 March 2015 (10.00-16.30) at Central Saint Martins in the Graphic Communication Design studios and runs as part of CSM's Restless Futures Events Series. Confirmed participants so far include Joel Gethin Lewis, Adam Greenfield, and Dawn Foster. Lunch and refreshments will be provided, but please note that we are unable to cover additional costs.

We would like to hear from anyone who thinks they might have a contribution to make to this workshop. If you are interested, please send an e-mail to Shauna Scott (s.scott@csm.arts.ac.uk) and include a 100 word expression of interest that indicates something about your background and reason for wanting to get involved by 16 February. We will select approximately 18 participants representing a wide range of concerns and disciplines. We want this discussion to be highly interdisciplinary and we encourage participation from a wide range of fields, professions and community groups.

Thank you.

Rebecca Ross, Shumi Bose, Shauna Scott & Ben Campkin

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