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The Bartlett Review

The Bartlett Review is a digital magazine from The Bartlett, UCL's Faculty of the Built Environment, exploring the latest ideas, research and perspectives from our expert thinkers on cities, human spaces and resources worldwide.

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The Bartlett Review

Explore our digital magazine showcasing innovative research, projects and ideas from The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment at UCL:

Podcast: Is GDP fit for purpose?

Should economies always aim to keep growing on a finite planet, or can a prosperous and sustainable economy and planet be defined differently?

Climate resilience for UK railways

UCL researchers are exploring new ways to help prepare the UK rail network for climate disruption.

Creating a laboratory for domestic energy usage

UCL Energy Institute and Oxford University’s new collaborative longitudinal study will put household energy consumption under the microscope

Explore The Bartlett Review

Explore previous editions

Bartlett review 2022 artwork, people walking through crop fields

The Bartlett Review 2022

The 2022 edition of our global review explores pressing questions for cities and communities worldwide, and reimagines how our spaces and structures can help all living beings to thrive in a shared world.

Graphics of four rectangle boxes

The Bartlett Review 2021

This edition of The Bartlett Review looks at our work in 2021 through the lens of four different key themes: climate crisis, resilience and the city, equitable spaces and redesigning education. 

review 2019

Bartlett Review 2019

Short stories

Deregulated and disregarded

Dr Ben Clifford's report for the RICS reveals the true face of the offices-to-resi boom: poor-quality housing.

Present and future architecture

Professor Frèdèric Migayrou's Mutations-Creations, a programme of five exhibitions devoted to creation and computation at Paris's Centre Pompidou.

Safety unconscious

A study by Professor Hedley Smyth and colleagues finds UK construction firms employing health and safety practices that are sometimes too procedural, prescriptive and inconsistently implemented.

It’s not rocket science

The private sector will invest its money where it sees future growth and opportunity. The MOIIS Commission's report recommends how the UK government should direct that investment.

Building knowledge

Professor Philip Steadman on modelling every domestic and non-domestic building in London and its use of energy for the Greater London Authority (GLA).

Healthy development

Nici Zimmerman and a team led by Professor Mike Davies are working with six partner cities to guide development that is not only sustainable but delivers positive urban health outcomes.

Weapons of mass distraction

Professor Matthew Beaumont wants to start a social movement to encourage pedestrians to reclaim their attention from their phones as they walk the city streets.

Where’s the political will?

Tackling the world's mounting environmental problems needn't cost the earth, says Professor Paul Ekins. But policy-makers have got to want to do it.

Indigenous innovation

Can Kenya lead the way to a new kind of prosperity in Africa? And can Maasai warriors teach western tycoons leadership the world needs for the 21st century? Jacqueline McGlade thinks so.


Long stories

Co-creating the city

KNOW is one of the biggest research grants The Bartlett has ever received and its ambition is even bigger.

Plastic planet

Plastic waste is so pervasive that there'll never be only one solution to the problem, which is why a multidisciplinary team from across The Bartlett and UCL are trying to tackle it from all angles.

Designing out disease

Insect-borne diseases like malaria, dengue and zika account for more than 17% of all infectious diseases worldwide. What if we could prevent this by changing the way we build?

Mapping History

Colouring London, an open knowledge exchange platform that collates, collects, generates and visualises statistical data, aims to be the first place people go to for data on the capital's buildings.

Paradox island

The Energy Institute’s Island Laboratory is helping island nations worldwide chart possible sustainable futures as they're confronted by the challenges of climate change and resource shortages.

A different way of seeing

From a groundbreaking experiment to teach visually impaired students to initiatives to widen participation, The Bartlett wants to open up built-environment education to a more diverse cohort.

Faculty news

Letter from the Dean

The Bartlett is home to some of the most talented staff, students and alumni in the world, tackling some of the most urgent problems facing our planet, says Dean Christoph Lindner.

The edge of tomorrow

UCL East, the university’s largest single expansion in 200 years, has a radical academic vision...

100 years of The Bartlett

The Bartlett turned 100 in 2019, marking a century since Sir Herbert Bartlett became our namesake.

Future focused

Key Bartlett statistics from 2018/19.


Investor of first resort

Industrial strategy and new forms of patient finance, such as mission-oriented national investment banks, must work together to solve 21st-century challenges.

Tipping point

Transforming the way research is done in construction will open up new possibilities to disrupt a sector that is in urgent need of change.

Green by design

Heritage can play an active role in sustainable development contributions to the majority, if not all, of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

The fifth age of cities

As global investors look for long-term income streams, their interests will become increasingly aligned with community interests and environmental pressures.

The last mile in energy access

There are lessons to be learned from Colombia's approach to providing electricity for people living in off-grid areas of the country.

Designing together

Co-design methods are well established in service and product design, but have rarely been applied to infrastructure. That needs to change – fast.

Transforming informal settlements

Academic international partnerships can play a role in responding to power imbalances among higher-education institutions, while addressing the challenges of sustainable development.

Fit for the future

Tackling the UK government's four Grand Challenges requires governance structures able to cope with uncertainty over the next three decades.

The Bartlett Review 2018 image is a birds-eye shipping containers placed so that look like buildngs in a skyline

Bartlett Review 2018

Short stories


An interview with Dr Edward Denison on a little-known period in Modernist history: 1930s Manchuria.

Taking a stand

A study by Professor Alexi Marmot and colleagues reveals ways to combat unhealthy trends in office design and culture that keep people in their seats.

Go to the polls

Dr Michael Walls, Senior Lecturer at The Bartlett Development Planning Unit, talks about the election monitoring mission he co-ordinated in Somaliland in November 2017.

Disputing the green paradox

Will energy majors ramp up production and revenues ahead of a meaningful global tax on carbon? Professor Paul Ekins doesn't think so.

Circular cities

Associate Professor Joanna Williams is using a new network to test how models of the resource-conscious city might work in practice.

Balancing act

Dr Zhifu Mi, Research Fellow at The Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management, says cities are a trade-off between economic development and climate change mitigation.

State of play

Professor Andrew Burns’ EPSRC-funded project to create a digital archive of traditional play culture aims to use the past to invent the future of urban play spaces.

The soundman

Professor Jian Kang hopes to create a system for measuring soundscapes in terms of human wellbeing.


Long stories

Stoked city

You might not think skateboarding would be the subject of scholarly study, but a growing number of academics believe it has a lot to teach about how to make cities better for citizens

On the move

How do you create pathways to prosperity in an age of mass displacement?


Completed just months before the Carillion collapse, Castles in the Air?, Professor Hedley Smyth’s analysis of British main contractors, reads like a premonition.

The carbon leviathan

The race is on to decarbonise the international shipping industry and the UCL Energy Institute's scenario-based modelling is giving policy-makers the data they need to put the pressure on.

Design by a thousand cuts

The UK is on the verge of a major expansion in housebuilding, yet new research by the Place Alliance has revealed a chronic lack of urban design expertise in local authorities.

The language of change

The wicked problems of the 21st century are too complex and systemic to be solved by one sector alone.

Faculty news

Letter from the Dean

Professor Alan Penn, in his last letter as Dean of The Bartlett, says that the built environment professions’ primary responsibility must be to the public at large and to future generations.

Agents of change

A short history of The Bartlett Materialisation Grant.

Immersed in the city

Since its inception in 2005, the UCL Urban Lab's transdisciplinary approach has challenged the discourse on how we think about and intervene in the city.

Brave new world

A little over a year ago, The Bartlett announced its arrival in east London with a new building and four pioneering architecture courses. we paid a visit to see how students and staff are settling in.

Infographic: Dynamic state (pdf)

The Bartlett’s growth story is about bringing together people, technology and disciplines, creating the conditions for students to imagine the radically different futures society will need to solve the challenges of this century.


MaaS appeal

Mobility as a Service is ushering in the demise of car ownership and the rise of the new urban traveller.

Science on the road

Tackling unequal access to scientific culture means taking science communication out of its usual venues.

The case for rethinking capitalism

Western capitalism is in crisis and new approaches to economics and policy that challenge conventional thinking are needed to reform it.

The city as an algorithm

What can the cities of tomorrow learn from the evolution of Venice with its millennia-long reputation for innovation and enduring stability?

Service included

PhDs supported by the service sector are opportunities to drive research and development in built environment organisations operating outside the physical sciences.

Innovation bureaucracy 

Why the capacity for rejuvenation is the lifeblood of the entrepreneurial state.

Future practice

Creating the space for tomorrow's professionals means tearing down the barriers between disciplines and opening dialogue on the beliefs that guide our design processes.

Pathways to urban equality

Over the next 4 years, Knowledge in Action for Urban Equality aims to deliver transformative research & capacity for innovation in policy & planning in 12 cities across Latin America, Asia and Africa.


Review bricks

Bartlett Review 2017

Short stories

Future welfare: Universal Basic Services

New report says UK needs to rethink the welfare state for 21st-century challenges.

Living concrete

BiotA Lab is designing an architectural bark for buildings that has bio-receptive qualities – a stage set for cryptogams.

Climate change epidemic

The Lancet Countdown tracks 40 indicators on links between climate change and health.

Making a clean break

The UCL Energy Institute’s UKTM energy model underpins UK’s Clean Growth Strategy.

Home truths

Architects’ assumptions may be steering clients away from making sustainable choices for their homes.

Hot air rises

High-rise office and residential buildings use more energy per square metre than low-rise.

A different view of resources

The resource nexus offers new models to manage global resources sustainably.

Urban wellbeing in Nigeria

The need for infrastructure in Nigeria is being used as a pretext to displace low-income communities to release urban land value.

Lending power

Homebuyers could borrow more if they could accurately forecast their energy bills.

Urban zoo

How do pathogens get introduced into urban populations and how do they spread?

Old ground, new techniques

New study investigates the links between heritage science and sport science.

3D printed heritage

Leading scientists and artists are teaming up to research how modern art can best be preserved for future generations.

Parallel lives

Two pilot projects are building a picture of prosperity for residents of East London.

Drawing a crowd

Three sold-out conferences for The Bartlett School of Architecture in 2016/17.

Life on the edge

Trio of symposia explores situated practice in contemporary art, architecture and urbanism.

Long stories

Navigating dementia

Can a video game and three million minds help to defuse a global health timebomb?

Breaking point

The UK has a critical skills shortage in the construction industry, one that poses a significant risk to the delivery of planned major projects. Will Brexit push it over the edge?

Drawing to an end?

The Bartlett’s sell-out 2016 conference, ‘Drawing Futures’, proved that obituaries for the role of hand-drawing in architecture practice have been premature. 

Who’s the real NIMBY?

We all like the idea of major renewable energy infrastructure projects but what about when they’re built next door? 

Gone to ground

Today’s food system is depleting groundwater reserves faster than they can be replenished. What happens next could determine the future of global food security. 

Design in translation

What does AI-driven generative design mean for creativity and production in architecture?

Faculty news

Letter from the Dean

Urbanisation, globalisation, automation, social and environmental disruption. All of these affect the way the built environment is created – and all set challenges The Bartlett needs to solve.

Making a new model

Today’s real estate model is increasingly limited in its scope and lopsided. A new Bartlett institute aims to create a concept for the sector that’s fit for the 21st-century city.

Coming home

The Bartlett’s 22 Gordon Street has attracted plenty of industry attention. But how is the building standing up to its first year of occupancy? We find out what users think.

Innovation is political

From broadband to genetic sequencing and solar panels, the public sector has always been a nurturer of innovation. It’s time the state’s role as innovator is recognised.

Making space

Here East is The Bartlett’s first significant footprint outside its traditional stomping ground in Bloomsbury. We speak to its architects. 

Infographic: Growing ambition (pdf)

A new cutting-edge space in east London and two new institutes with bold cross-disciplinary mandates underline The Bartlett's goal: to be the world’s number-one faculty of the built environment.  



01: Prosperity on the move

The challenge of mass displacement requires a new vision of prosperity. To develop such a vision and deliver positive results, universities must work with a range of groups in the countries affected. By Hannah Sender and Nikolay Mintchev

02: Space for education

Educational environments are integral to effective learning and safe, healthy, and sustainable cities. So why has the science of designing them been overlooked for so long? By Clare Melhuish and Alexi Marmot

03: Encounters with modernity

It is unfortunate that Eritrea is more likely to evoke images of migrant crises than outstanding architectural heritage. Asmara’s listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site could change that perception. By Edward Denison

04: Piloting democracy

Drones can do a lot more than deliver the shopping. How about making urban planning a more democratic process? By Flora Roumpani

05: Breaking the code

A new manifesto for data and co-creation in the digital city wants to put social value at the centre of today’s smart-city rhetoric. By Claire McAndrew

06: Night vision

Research by UCL Urban Laboratory has found that the number of LGBTQ+ venues in London has more than halved in the past decade, eroding a crucial social infrastructure. By Ben Campkin and Laura Marshall

07: The future past

Policymakers, listen up! Recognising the contribution that heritage makes to the wider UK economy starts with semantics: we’re talking about a heritage “industry”. By May Cassar

08: Cracking energy efficiency

The UK’s Clean Growth Strategy shows that the government is starting to understand that energy efficiency is compelling when climate and competitiveness drivers reinforce each other. By Peter Mallaburn

09: Reimagining the potential of urban design

Changing the ways in which we frame and intervene in the built environment requires a critical engagement with the political nature of the production of space. By Catalina Ortiz

Annual Review 2016

Bartlett Review 2016

Big stories: Design

Hackable workspace

Modern business requirements change more quickly than the physical workspace can keep up with, but does a new collaboration between Google and AHMM point towards a workable future?

Raising damp up the agenda

New UK Centre for Moisture in Buildings contributes to substantial improvement in the understanding of moisture in buildings.

The first 175 years

2016 ushered in a new era for The Bartlett School of Architecture, as it marked its 175th anniversary and launched four new courses.

The Healthy Revolution

More than 50 years since its inception, the EDE’s expanding remit reflects new demands on buildings to deliver wellbeing.

Buildings for dementia

‘Losing Myself’ at the 2016 Venice Biennale explored a research collaboration between two Bartlett architecture lecturers and a group of UCL dementia specialists.

Excellence in architecture

The RIBA’s Annie Spink Award 2016 goes to The Bartlett School of Architecture’s Professor Christine Hawley.

Big stories: History

History is written by everyone

The Survey of London has embarked on its most experimental and collaborative project in more than a century of publishing: Whitechapel Histories. 

Preserving the smells of history

Heritage scientist Cecilia Bembibre wants to add an extra dimension to the study of historic locations and objects: smell.

Three years of urban pamphleteer

A collaboration with Central Saint Martins explores the long tradition of using pamphlets to instigate change in cities.

Preserving fantastic plastics

Dr Katherine Curran has been awarded an ERC Starting Grant to explore how polymers degrade – and how better to preserve them

Big stories: Equality

Building a just urban agenda

Making urban policy-making work for those that need it most in the Global South means elevating the voice of the urban poor. The DPU is showing how it can be done. 

The London Prosperity Board

How do you close the health, wealth and opportunity gap between the capital’s richest and its most deprived?

Night-time politics

Research from UCL Urban Laboratory shows impact of LGBTQI nightlife venue closures on London’s communities.

Learning from Jerusalem

The way migrant communities are integrated, or segregated, within cities in the future may determine if a city functions successfully.

How should society value itself?

Students interested in reconceptualising prosperity for the 21st century should look no further than a new MSc in Global Prosperity.

Relocation or dislocation?

Too often, the response to climate-related disasters is to relocate local inhabitants. The answer instead lies in managing urban growth, new research suggests.

Big stories: Data

(Smart) Parklife

At the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, CASA is putting a human face on the Internet of Things.

The truth about shipping

CO2 emissions from international shipping for 2012 were estimated to be 796 million tonnes – so why don't more people care about it?

A feel for the future

Prestigious industry-prize win for two Bartlett School of Architecture students hints at new collaborations possible in architecture.

Telling stories with big data

How CASA created the UK’s largest data display for the London Transport Museum.

Big stories: Place

Time + Place

How the School of Planning picked up where the Farrell Review left off, helping to create and nurture the Place Alliance into a leading voice on best practice in urban design.

Driving diversity

New project aims to show that urban diversity is an asset in European cities.


What does a 360-degree view of western Europe’s tallest building tell us?

A new Estate of mind

The Bartlett’s soon-to-be-launched Real Estate Institute will look afresh at how we define and value the built environment.

The power of unlikely connections

Dr Ben Campkin talks about how Engaged Urbanism can help us reimagine cities and think about urban challenges with fresh vigour.

Big stories: Infrastructure

Why London leads the world at Megaprojects

New approaches to major construction works in London have set a model of efficiency for delivering megaprojects on time and on budget.

What’s the Hinkley point?

Analysis from UCL Energy Institute suggests that the planned Hinkley Point C nuclear plant will be obsolete within a decade of being built.

Diesel and taxes

New report outlines tax options to tackle the growing public-health emergency of air pollution from diesel cars.

Strong action needed on resource efficiency

High-profile report shows resource-efficiency policy can help in tackling climate change, while increasing global economic output.

Behind the Carbon Budget

UCL Energy Institute model plays pivotal role in helping to set targets to reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions.


Essay 01: Welcome to the post-digital city

The newly formed UCL Institute for Digital Innovation in the Built Environment operates at the interface of digital engineering, computer science and human experience. 

Essay 02: Jumping the species barrier  

Why zoonoses – diseases that jump across the species divide from animals to humans – present a challenge for global prosperity.

Essay 03: How to run a successful lab

Over the past 15 years, Sonja Curtis has helped take CASA from a two-man team to a leading force in the science of smart cities. She shares her advice for new institutes and research labs.

Essay 04: Ethical encounters

Why is now the time to talk about ethics in the built environment, and how do we know if we’re asking the right questions?

Essay 05: Taking the fight to climate change – on time and on budget 

Climate change isn’t just a scientific problem or a political challenge – it’s also a management issue. And there’s a lot project management can do to address the threats it poses.

Essay 06: The future of practice  

Where does architecture education go from here? The Bartlett School of Architecture believes there’s no single answer – and that’s the point.

Essay 07: How universities can be better neighbours

Higher education institutions should listen to those who are less powerful when planning expansion, says Clare Melhuish. 

Essay 08: Culture change starts at home  

How striving for gender equality can create a culture at The Bartlett that works best for everyone.

Essay 09: Lighter, cleaner, more cost-effective 

A paper published in Nature Climate Change in 2016, reveals cost-effective ways to reduce emissions from passenger aircraft to 2050 – and the aviation industry is listening.

Essay 10: Life imitates architecture 

In the year it reopens its flagship building – 22 Gordon Street, Rebecca Spaven looks back at how The Bartlett’s own architecture has influenced the relationship between the faculty and its students.

Faculty news

Letter from the Dean

The Bartlett is expanding – and that expansion is following a particular agenda. By Professor Alan Penn, Dean of The Bartlett

22 Gordon Street: Worth the Wates

With the unveiling of 22 Gordon Street – formerly Wates House – in 2016, we look at the philosophy behind the redesign and ask how The Bartlett School of Architecture’s new home will shape the future student/teacher experience. 

Be here now

London’s Here East isn’t your typical university real estate. By putting creative design and advanced technologies in the same space, The Bartlett is taking a bold step into a future that will strengthen its interdisciplinary research and teaching.

Critical mass (pdf)

New space, new programmes, and more new students than ever – it all points to The Bartlett’s intention to become the world’s number one faculty of the built environment.


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