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Urban Lab representation at the 7th World Urban Forum

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This week UCL Urban Laboratory co-director Dr Camillo Boano, and DPU Director Prof Julio D. Davila along with a large delegation of DPU staff, including Dr Alex Frediani (UCL Urban Laboratory Steering Committee) are attending the 7th World Urban Forum (WUF) in Medellin, Colombia. The WUF is convened by UN-Habitat and takes place very two years in a different city. It is the largest international forum on urban issues, and welcomes researchers, policymakers, NGOs, community organisations, private companies and international agencies to join together in conversation.

Audio from 'Derek Jarman: Sites and Spaces' study day available

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On 13 February, UCL Urban Laboratory and the Slade School of Fine Art hosted a study day focused on the sites and spaces of Derek Jarman's life and work, to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of his death. This forms part of the wider programme of events being organised across the year celebrating the life and work of the artist and queer activist, Jarman 2014.

Urban Laboratory academics feature in BBC programme 'The Country Formerly Known as London'

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The Country Formerly Known as London

Urban Laboratory researcher Louis Moreno and Urban Laboratory Steering Committee member Michael Edwards feature in a BBC Radio 4 programme that asks the question, how would London look as an independent city-state? The Country Formerly Known as London aired on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday 1 April at 20:00, presented by The Guardian's economics leader writer, Aditya Chakrabortty. It is available to listen to on the BBC iPlayer until Tuesday 8 April via this link.

Cities Methodologies 2014

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Led by UCL Urban Laboratory, Cities Methodologies is an ongoing programme of events and exhibitions dedicated to presenting, sharing and experimenting with new methods of urban research. Each iteration takes a new form. Audiences encounter an eclectic array of approaches to the analysis of cities worldwide.

Ben Campkin on Derek Jarman’s King’s Cross in 3:AM Magazine

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As part of UCL Urban Laboratory’s Derek Jarman: Sites and Spaces study day on February 13, Dr Ben Campkin (Director, UCL Urban Laboratory) gave a talk on Jarman’s relationship with King’s Cross, which is now available to read via 3:AM Magazine.  

The talk introduced footage of King’s Cross made by Jarman and his collaborators for the Pet Shop Boys. These images comprised a promo for ‘Rent’ (1987) and a later Super 8 film that was made to be back-projected during the Pet Shop Boys’ 1989 tour as they performed the track ‘King’s Cross’. Completed before the King’s Cross tube station fire (November 1987) the song uses the area as a downbeat emblem of Margaret Thatcher’s Britain, around the time that media hysteria on the AIDS crisis peaked. The elegiac footage imbues an everyday city space with poetic tension, echoing the track’s sense of suspension and disorientation. The essay can be read on 3:AM Magazine here.

Matthew Gandy lectures on 'Periodicities and metabolisms' at Harvard

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Matthew Gandy (UCL Urban Laboratory Director 2005-2011 and Steering Committee member) gave a lecture entitled “Periodicities and metabolisms” to the one-day conference “Projective views on urban metabolism” held at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design on 7th February 2014. While visiting Harvard Matthew also gave a podcast interview with Professor Neil Brenner for the Harvard GSD Urban Theory Lab, available here: http://urbantheorylab.net/podcast/

New publication available from the Development Planning Unit/ACHR Junior Professionals Programme

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In 2013, the Bartlett Development Planning Unit (DPU) launched a pilot internship programme in collaboration with the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights and the Community Architects Network. Six DPU alumni spent six months working with communities in Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam, supporting  mapping, planning and design processes and discussions around issues of housing and land rights. Through this experience they shared their lives, perspectives, values and stories with communities across South-East Asia. A collection of essays recounting their experiences entitled 'Grounding Knowledge: reflections on community-driven development in South East Asia' is now available online. For more information on the scheme, please visit the DPU website.

Professor Oren Yiftachel delivers CITY Journal and UCL Urban Laboratory Lecture on Gray Space and the New Urban Regime

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Professor Oren Yiftachel

Professor Oren Yiftachel (Ben-Gurion University, Israel) visited UCL on January 30th to deliver the CITY Journal and UCL Urban Laboratory lecture. His talk titled ‘Gray Space and the New Urban Regime: Between Liberalism and a Creeping Apartheid’, focused on the causes of what he terms as ‘gray spaces’ – the unregulated urbanisation of people who are neither integrated into nor eliminated from society, are on the fringes and grey areas of legality and at the will of metropolitan politics. Full audio is avaliable below.

Urban Pamphleteer #3: Design and Trust Call for Contributions

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In spring 2013 we launched an exciting new series of publications, the Urban Pamphleteer. Each illustrated pamphlet in this series collates and presents expert voices across disciplines, professions, and community groups around one pressing contemporary urban challenge. The intention is to draw out and confront the complexities of each subject from diverse perspectives, in a direct and accessible–but not reductive or didactic–tone. In the tradition of radical pamphleteering, the broader aim is to empower citizens and inform professionals, organisations, institutions and policy-makers, with a view to actively influencing urban debate and positively shaping change. The pamphlets are being economically produced, carefully designed and widely circulated, both as hard copy and digitally. The first issues have been published.

New 'Change by Design' report now available

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A new report based on the findings of an Architecture Sans Frontières UK (ASF-UK) Change by Design workshop in Ecuador, ‘Nueva Imaginaciones Espaciales en Los Pinos’ is now available. The report outlines the findings of a 2-week workshop that took place in Quito in August 2013, resulting from a collaboration between ASF-UK, Universidad Politécnica Salesiana, El Institute de Altos Estudios Nacionales (IAEN) and the Comité de Desarrollo Comunitario ‘Los Pinos’, with the support of The Bartlett Development Planning Unit (DPU) and the research project Scarcity and Creativity in the Built Environment (SCIBE). The report is in Spanish and aimed at communicating findings to local residents and contributing towards discussions in Ecuador on the issue. 

dpu summerLab 2013 pamphlet now available

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The dpusummerLab 2013 pamphlet is now available online (pdf). The 56-page tabloid publication was curated and edited by Camillo Boano, William Hunter and designed by Caroline Newton (The Bartlett Development Planning Unit, UCL) and features numerous pieces centred on summerlab experiences in Medellin, Santiago, Rome and London, during summer 2013. It contains reflections on urban complexities and the different design research experiences from collaborators and partners Catalina Ortiz, Camila Cociña, Alberto Duman, Azzurra Muzzonigro and contributions from participants as well as a discussion between Camillo Boano, William Hunter and the director of the UCL Urban Laboratory, Ben Campkin.

Urban Laboratory launches Urban Pamphleteer #2: Regeneration Realities

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Urban Pamphleteer #2: Regeneration Realities (pdf) features analyses of regeneration, practical case studies and ideas that address questions such as "Is it possible to reclaim and rethink regeneration as a concept and set of practices?". "How can we develop ethical, evidence-based and rigorous methods of regeneration that better serve the communities in whose name it is carried out?", "If economic growth, and the supposed 'trickle-down' effects of increased land values have come to dominate regeneration rhetoric and practice, how can they be rebalanced towards the needs and values of existing communities?". 

Pushpa Arabindoo invited to speak at the Moscow Urban Forum

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Pushpa Arabindoo invited to speak at the Moscow Urban Forum

Pushpa Arabindoo was invited as a speaker at the Third Moscow Urban Forum held from 5-7 December 2013. Following the forum’s theme of ‘Megacities: Success beyond the centre’, Pushpa’s talk titled ‘ Margins and peripheries: Regionalising Chennai’ discussed the planning and governance challenges in developing Chennai as a mega-region and its socio-political implications. 

Future City: Doha

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Clare Melhuish, UCL Urban Laboratory Research Associate, is speaking in a forum on December 13th-14th 2013 that investigates the intersections between geographical, social and cultural memories in the way that cities are reproduced for the future, focusing on rapid urban development in Doha. The forum is hosted in Doha by Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, in collaboration with the Liverpool Biennial as part of Qatar UK Year of Culture 2013. Clare will contribute to a panel on 'How do we imagine the future city?' with a presentation on the agency and affect of digital visualisations in the production of transformative urban developments. Other speakers in the panel include Philippe Rahm of Philippe Rahm architectes, and Prof Rami el Samahy, Asst Teaching Professor of Architecture, Carnegie Mellon University.

Matthew Gandy gives keynote lecture at Oxford University

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Matthew Gandy gave a keynote lecture at the Flexible City Symposium, 24-25 October 2013, held at St. Anne’s College, University of Oxford.  Matthew’s lecture was entitled “The fabric of space: water, modernity, and the urban imagination” and provided an overview of his recent work on urban infrastructure drawing on research in Lagos, Los Angeles, and other cities.  The conference was jointly hosted by the Oxford Future of Cities programme, the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, and the Oxford Martin School. 

Clare Melhuish awarded Perry Chapman Prize

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Clare Melhuish (Urban Laboratory Research Associate) and Jos Boys (Northumbria University) have been announced as this year's recipients of the Perry Chapman Prize, which funds research in the planning and design of higher education institutions. Jos and Clare will continue their examination of learning space design from a social sciences perspective. Their winning proposal, "Developing Research Methods for Analyzing Learning Spaces That Can Inform Institutional Missions of Learning and Engagement," considers our constant engagement with the world and seeks to study how learning is experienced in a contemporary campus environment. The results of their research will be disseminated in summer 2014. 

Matthew Gandy interviews Ash Amin for South African journal, Cityscapes

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Matthew Gandy (Urban Laboratory Steering Committee, UCL Geography) conducts a wide-ranging interview with Cambridge geographer Ash Amin about his recent work including Arts of the political (Duke University Press, 2013) in Cityscapes. Read the full article here

Rethinking Urban Nature: European Research Council awards prestigious grant for major new Urban Lab research programme

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Berlin (2006) by Matthew Gandy

We are delighted to announce the award of a prestigious European Research Council Advanced Grant of €2,484,238 for the project 'Rethinking Urban Nature', to be led by Professor Matthew Gandy, with the Urban Laboratory as the project's intellectual and administrative hub. This major five-year cross-disciplinary project involves the employment of three postdoctoral researchers and two doctoral students to study forms of urban nature in Berlin, Chennai, London and Tallin.

UCL Urban Laboratory participating in International Research on Art and City network

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The UCL Urban Laboratory is participating in TACT / International Research on Art and City, a newly founded international network that brings together research on art, artists and the city. Involving academics, artists, activists and students, it creates a platform for investigating urban imaginaries from the perspective of art and the city, artists and public space, and the urban interventionism of street art and grassroots activism.

Future Univercities podcasts now available

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In May 2013 a 3 part seminar series was convened at UCL to stimulate discussion and debate on the future role of universities in the context of recent dramatic changes in the UK higher education sector.

Urban Lab awarded Leverhulme funding for artist-in-residence to work on Balfron Tower project

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UCL Urban Laboratory is delighted to announce that UCL has received an award from the Leverhulme Trust to fund photographer Rab Harling as an artist-in-residence to work with Dr Ben Campkin and other UCL staff and students during the academic year 2013-14.

Urban Lab appoints Dr Clare Melhuish as Research Associate

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Dr Clare Melhuish has been appointed as UCL Urban Laboratory Research Associate to develop a series of urban regeneration case studies. Dr Melhuish has extensive research experience, most recently as part of the ESRC-funded project ‘Architectural atmospheres, branding and the social: the impact of digital visualising technologies on contemporary architectural practice’ at the Open University. 

UCL Urban Laboratory Annual Report 2011- 2012

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Annual report 11/12

The UCL Urban Laboratory is delighted to present its annual report for 2011-2012. Its content reflects the hard work and dedication of many people across UCL, as well as a growing range of partnerships beyond the academy. The projects featured evidence an array of critical, experimental and rigorous research and teaching activity within the university, and a wide range of productive collaborations with other communities. 

Louis Moreno introduces Professor David Harvey lecture at Central Saint Martins

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David Harvey

Urban Laboratory researcher Louis Moreno presented an introductory talk on Professor David Harvey's work prior to a lecture by David Harvey, hosted by the Masters in Research course in Art Theory and Philosophy at Central Saint Martins, on June 25 at 6.00 pm.

Apps and urban space: call for interviewees

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Grindr College (c) Regner Ramos

Regner Ramos, a UCL Urban Laboratory and Bartlett School of Architecture doctoral candidate, has launched a Call for Interviewees, to have conversations with users of two mobile apps called Mappiness and Grindr. His research focuses on the apps’ spatial qualities and their effect on users’ identities. Mappiness and Grindr users are sought out to participate in a short, confidential interview, to get a wider scope on the way the apps are used, how they relate to urban space, and how their users construct virtual personas. In the case of Grindr, the research also explores how Grindr-users perceive their sexual identity/orientation in relation to urban spaces. 

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