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Centre for London Urban Design (CLOUD)

The Centre for London Urban Design (CLOUD) is a research centre based at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.

The Centre for London Urban Design is a leading centre for research, debate, and projects that addresses spatial and environmental issues facing London through innovative architecture and urban design.

Our research addresses geographical and spatial relationships of London and other cities, housing issues, health and wellbeing, environment and ecology, social inclusion/exclusion, fairness and social justice, regeneration, urban aesthetics and methodological innovation (e.g. design research; live projects; community participation).


People

Directors

Professor Peter Bishop

Peter Bishop is Professor of Urban Design at The Bartlett School of Architecture and a Director at Allies and Morrison Architects

Peter has been a planning director at four different Central London Boroughs, and has worked on major projects in the UK, including Canary Wharf and King’s Cross. In 2006 he was appointed as the first Director of Design for London and in 2008 served as the Deputy Chief Executive at the London Development Agency.

Peter has been a design advisor to the Mayors of London, Bucharest and Zhuhai and the Sochi Winter Olympics Legacy project and Central Dallas regeneration. He is an honorary fellow of UCL and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Publications include The Temporary City (Routledge 2012), which explores the origins of current thinking on temporary urbanism, and Planning, Politics and City Making: A case study of King’s Cross (RIBA Publishing 2016), which examines the political processes behind major developments.

Professor Murray Fraser

Murray Fraser is Professor of Architecture and Global Culture at The Bartlett School of Architecture, and Vice-Dean of Research for The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment. He was formerly editor of The Journal of Architecture, and is now editor-in-chief for the ARENA Journal of Architectural Research.

Murray has been awarded the 2018 RIBA Annie Spink Award for Excellence in Architectural Education, RIBA’s highest lifetime achievement award, and was Highly Commended in the 2016 RIBA President’s Research Medals for his design-based work with the Palestine Regeneration Team. He also co-created the online Archigram Archival Project, which was shortlisted for the 2010 RIBA Research Awards. 

In 2008, Murray's book on Architecture and the 'Special Relationship' was given the RIBA President’s Research Award and the CICA’s Bruno Zevi Book Prize for Best Architectural Book in the world that year. 

Currently he is General Editor for the 21st edition of Sir Banister Fletcher’s Global History of Architecture (forthcoming 2019), which will present the most comprehensive account as yet of global architectural history.

Researchers

Dr Nicholas Jewell

Nicholas Jewell is owner of Nicholas Jewell Architectural Research, Head of Research at Ben Adams Architects and a Tutor at Queen Mary University.

He completed a PhD at the Bartlett School of Architecture where he researched shopping malls and urbanism in China in 2013. His work was later published as a book entitled Shopping Malls and Public Space in Modern China (2015 Ashgate Publishing).

Nicholas' previous research was the subject of an RIBA Research Trust Award in 2010 and in 2000 he won the RIBA Dissertation Prize for an essay on British malls subsequently published in The Journal of Architecture (2001).

Nicholas has lectured widely on the subject of shopping malls and contributed to a number of publications, including a chapter on Dubai’s shopping malls in Architecture and Globalisation in the Persian Gulf Region (2013).

Dr Richard Timmerman

Richard Timmerman completed his PhD at The Bartlett School of Planning, where his research explored the impact of informal street user design interventions and modifications to urban design elements and morphologies on levels of public realm interactivity and perceptions.

Richard has worked in a variety of public sector roles covering urban planning, urban design, and cartography. Much of his professional work relates to the development of facilities on brownfield sites in connection to the construction of the London 2012 Summer Olympics and its legacy in Newham.
 
Currently, Richard is a researcher on the Housing Sprint project and also works as an urban design tutor at The Bartlett School of Planning. He also assists in the maintenance of the Place Value Wiki resource.

Visiting Professors

Professor Carlos Garcia Vazquez, University of Seville/Milan Polytechnic


Partners 

Funding partners

We work with partners who share our interest in providing a research basis to address London Urban Design issues. Please email us if you would like to know more.

London partners

CLOUD is embedded within the internationally renowned Bartlett School of Architecture and benefits from the wider knowledge and expertise of the whole of UCL (University College London). We also work with organisations that share our aim of better understanding and addressing London-specific issues.

International partners

CLOUD staff have existing relationships across a number of institutions with whom we exchange knowledge of London and other international cities to improve understanding among cities facing similar issues. 


Research projects

Housing: Supply and Affordability (Housing Sprint)

This is a joint research project with The Said Business School Oxford University (housing finance), the London School of Economics (land supply) and UCL – CLOUD (master planning and community building). 

The Housing Sprint Project applies intensive research methods to focus on Britain’s biggest challenge: increasing housing supply and affordability, master planning and financing homes alongside transport, infrastructure and other land uses. This research promotes communities, quality of life and economic growth without jeopardising the stock of property equity which supports economic stability. 

CLOUD’s involvement primarily concerns the aspects that promote communities through recognising optimal placemaking strategies that compensate for broad demographic conditions. Ultimately, communities based in these settlements comprised of affordable housing units exhibit evidence of being self-sustaining.

This project considers what makes a community, the different characteristics and facilities required dependent on the number of homes and people, the relationship between living and working and the mechanisms that might be put in place to assist the building of robust and sustainable communities of interest.

Funding partners:
Argent PLC, UK
Berkeley Homes, UK
Clarion Housing Association, UK
Ministry of Housing and Local Government, UK

Completion:
September 2019

The Unit of the City: Vauxhall, London

This research project produces a theory of how London is developing today as a global city, to understand how the everyday building blocks that underpin this process are evolving and explores the kinds of design research available to architects operating within these conditions.

Funding Partners:
Ben Adams Architects, London, UK

Completion:
December 2019

A Spatial and Statistical Comparison of London and Beijing

Beijing and London are both successful global cities. They face many of the same challenges but operate within different economic and political systems. Consequently they have developed different policy frameworks and institutional structures. This project understands and analyses the approaches of both cities, identifies and compares best practice and highlights what each city can learn from the other. Beijing Institute of Architectural Design (BIAD) is particularly interested in 4 study areas: the whole structure of the city, the central government district, science area and financial business district.

This scoping report starts with an overview of:

  • London’s growth over the last 50 years;
  • The operation of the UK planning system and its effect on the development of London;
  • The administration of London;
  • Policy framework and guidance documents with a bearing on urban quality;
  • A review of policy regarding data collection and use
  • A review of the principle data sets in London

BIAD are preparing a similar scoping report and the two should allow a common research agenda to be agreed for the next part of the study. 

Funding Partners:
Beijing Institute of Architecture and Design (BIAD), China

Completion:
October 2019

Applied Research in the Marketplace: Architectural Design Research for London

This project develops a model for highlighting, articulating, producing and disseminating the design research that takes place within architectural practices, by developing some applied examples involving SMEs and external stakeholders in London in the UK and Gothenburg in Sweden. It is funded by an EU networking grant of around £280,000 that was awarded to form an emerging research alliance between UCL, ETH Zurich, TU Delft, TU Munich and Chalmers University.

The project focusses on designing new social housing projects on two respective sites within those cities’ run-down former docklands areas. It showcases best practice in architectural design research, and produces two useful design proposals for London and Gothenburg. Furthermore, it employs new types of design portfolio publication to demonstrate how European architects can communicate their innovative research outputs both in print format and online.

Funding Partners:
European Union Erasmus+ Scheme

Completion:
November 2019

Seoul Biennale: London exhibition

Peter Bishop is currently curating the London exhibition for the September 2019 Seoul Biennale. It is part of the Cities exhibition in which 55 global cities will be represented and focusses on a series of words, images and maps that portray the nature of urban thinking behind London’s growth and development.

Funding Partners:
Seoul City Council, South Korea

Completion:
September 2019

Potential future research projects
  • Expansion of London – under what circumstances can the Green Belt be brought into play?
  • Density and mix of uses – can one be used to unlock the other while maintaining quality?
  • Air quality – can it be affected or improved by good urban design, whether at a building, local or urban scale?
  • Technology to facilitate development – innovative design tools through to manufacturing approach to building.
  • Speed to market of – how can design improve speed to market and address need in a more targeted way?
  • Success of areas of London over time – how places become more and less successful and the design factors involved.
  • Case studies of successful development in London.
  • Technology and development – can emerging technologies facilitate greater density or improvements in quality of ‘place’? 

PhD Researchers

CLOUD welcomes applications from potential candidates for PhDs at the Bartlett where their research has direct relevance on issues facing London.

Completed PhDs
  • Dr Giuiliana Bonifati (Milan Polytechnic) – ‘Architecture and Creative Transformation: Creative Urban Practice in London’
  • Dr Andrea Migliarese (Milan Polytechnic) – ‘For a design theory of the Great Event: Architecture as Process' (comparative study featuring the London Olympics)
  • Dr Amy Thomas (UCL) – ‘A Material History of the City of London, 1945–1993’
PhDs in progress with relevance to London

Work with us 

We welcome PhD proposals focusing on London and the areas of interest of the Research Centre. These may include historical research. Please contact Peter Bishop.


Related publications

Professor Peter Bishop
  • The Temporary City: An exploration of current thinking on temporary urbanism (Routledge, 2012).
  • Planning, Politics and City Making: A case study of King’s Cross (RIBA Publishing, 2016).
  • Design for London: Experiments in Urban Thinking (edited book; UCL Press, forthcoming 2019).
  • Rethinking the Green Belt (UCL Press, forthcoming 2019).
Professor Murray Fraser
  • ‘Urban shine and brutal reality’, in Andrew Gibson & Joe Kerr (eds), London from Punk to Blair (Reaktion Books, 2003, revised edition 2012).
  • Architecture and the ‘Special Relationship’: The American Influence on British Architecture since 1945 (with Joe Kerr; Routledge, 2007).
  • ‘The Global Architectural Influences on London’, in David Littlefield (ed.), London Regeneration: Architectural Design special issue (Wiley Academy, January 2012, pp. 14–21).
  • Design Research in Architecture: An Overview (edited book; Ashgate, 2013).
  • Sir Banister Fletcher’s Global History of Architecture (2 vols, 21st edition; Bloomsbury Press, forthcoming 2019 in print format and online)