The Bartlett School of Architecture


Rakan Budeiri



Conflict and Power: the role of image in large-scale urban development in London, 1980 to the present

First and second supervisors 

Benjamin Campkin and Peter Bishop


This interdisciplinary research project will examine how Londoners are exposed to, come to understand and sometimes challenge urban development through the use of images. In comparing two iconic state-sponsored property-led regeneration projects with present day exclusive marketed-as-investment residential developments, it will aim to explore how socially and environmentally destructive development patterns are enacted through images and how such images have been and could be mobilised to challenge socio-economic inequalities. 

London is at the forefront of a national housing crisis situated within a global context of cities increasingly seen as investment opportunities for financial elites. With a specific focus on 'prime housing developments' marketed to overseas and domestic investors often sold off plan, the research will examine a wide range of interacting development linked place branding images - hoardings, brochures, websites, films, leaflets, renderings - and the contexts of their production and consumption within processes of housing commodification.

As a starting point the research will take the marketing of 'lifestyle' development projects in London as a visual dataset which might help to explain what developers and residents are producing and consuming. By unpacking the kind of images which surround contemporary urban change what can be learnt about how regeneration reproduces existing structures in society and how can this be challenged?

The research hopes to show that the large amount of visual challenges which are offered up as contestation to the 'property industry's' depictions of the future of cities show that the idea of how change is represented is key in supporting or challenging structures which replicate current urban inequalities.


Rakan previously completed an ERSC scholarship-funded MSc Advanced Architectural Studies at the Bartlett in after undertaking a BA Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics. His academic work has been widely interspersed with freelance research work in the urban and cultural fields with a common theme of investigating the spatialised and visual dynamics of power in urban development.