The Bartlett


Building Better: The Bartlett Podcast

The human spaces and urban landscapes that we build worldwide have a huge impact on our daily lives, our societies, and our planet. In this podcast, we’re taking on the big question: how can we build better?

Welcome to the brand new monthly podcast series from The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment presented by Dean of The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment and Professor in Urban Studies at UCL, Christoph Lindner.

We're calling this podcast Building Better because that's exactly what we want to do. Each episode will bring together multi-disciplinary perspectives and radical thinking from some of the world's leading experts at The Bartlett. Together, we can open up new ideas and spark innovative solutions for some of the world's most important challenges – and build a better future for everyone.

Each month we’ll be sitting down with other members of this community to explore a topic that captures a snapshot of what happens here, from innovative techniques to interdisciplinary ideas to ground-breaking results. Join us as we explore the world of the built environment, asking what needs to change, and how we can build better.

Listen on: Acast Spotify | Apple Podcast Google Podcast | SoundCloud

Series Playlist

Listen and subscribe on SoundCloud

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Catch up on Series One

Episode 1: Taking up Space
We wanted to know how spaces can be designed to best serve the people who need them, and what happens when spaces are designed to shut people out or divide them.
For our first episode, host Christoph is joined by Lo Marshall, urban geographer and Research Fellow at the UCL Urban Laboratory and Bartlett School of Architecture and Dr Grant Mills, Associate Professor in the Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management, to explore space and how communities create it.
Lo and Grant discuss their work around redesigning spaces and understanding the communities that live in them, from late-night drag venues to state of the art modern hospitals.

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Episode 2: Looking backwards to look forwards

In Episode 2, we want to know how research that explores the past can help us to better understand the present, and maybe even predict the future. 

Approaching the past through uniquely innovative methods, host Christoph speaks to three researchers at The Bartlett: Professor Mike Batty, Emeritus Professor of Planning and Chair of The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Dr Katherine Curran, Associate Professor at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage, and Dr Judy Stephenson, Associate Professor in economics and finance of the built environment at The Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management about how they study and interrogate the past to help us solve the problems we face today. 

From digital data and mapping to the heritage of plastics to the history of labour markets and construction in England, we're trying to answer the question: how can we use the history of materials and the history of people to build a better future?

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Episode 3: Space and the City

Does public space have a future?

In Episode 3, host Christoph speaks to Dr Maria Kamargianni, Associate Professor of Transport and Energy in the Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources and Head of MaaSLab, Dr Lucy Natarajan, Lecturer (teaching) from the Bartlett School of Planning, and Dr Leah Lovett, artist and Research Fellow at the Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis to explore how the creation and use of public space is changing.

The past year has dramatically shifted how we access public space. From COVID-19 restrictions to concerns around how we police and regulate public spaces, this episode explores public space as a contested space, and what’s at stake for the future use, meaning and function of public spaces in the city.

Episode 4: After the crisis, should London slow down?

In Episode 4, we're talking about slowness, and specifically, what slowness means in the context of a city or a space.

Slowness is something we've been particularly interested in during the pandemic, which seems to have slowed some parts of the world right down whilst speeding the rest up.

To help us think about slowness, host Christoph speaks to Pedro Gil, an architect and Senior Teaching Fellow at the Bartlett School of Architecture and Dr Elsa Arcaute, Associate Professor in the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA). 

Listen in to hear their thoughts on slowness and questions around privileged slowness, vicarious slowness, involuntary slowness, and speed as a form of power.

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Episode 5: How should we heat our homes?

In Episode 5, we want to know: how will we heat our homes in the future?

And who better to answer this question than two researchers from the UCL Energy Institute, a world-leading initiative, delivering learning, research, and policy support on the challenges of Climate Change and energy security.

Join host Christoph in conversation with Dr Jenny Crawley, Research Fellow in Energy and Buildings, and Dr Jez Wingfield, Senior Technician in Physical Building Performance to learn about the different possibilities for a more sustainable future in the UK and what barriers lie in the way. 

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Episode 6: How do you dissolve an industry fairly?

In the final episode of Building Better series one, we continue our exploration of the design considerations of tackling climate change.

In Episode 5, we discussed how we might heat our homes in the future. Now, we want to take a step back and consider things on a larger scale. Instead of talking about building the future, we’re going to be thinking about breaking things down.

Join host Christoph alongside Professor Jacqueline Glass, Chair in Construction Management in the Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction and Vice Dean of Research at The Bartlett, and Dr Rokia Raslan, an Associate Professor in the Bartlett School of Environment Energy & Resources and Vice Dean for Innovation here at the Bartlett as they explore the unintended consequences of switching to more sustainable building practices and find out how we can best mitigate them by asking “how do you dissolve an industry fairly?”

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Access transcript

If there’s a question  about life and research at The Bartlett you’d like our host or guests to answer, email us at bartlett.comms@ucl.ac.uk or tweet @BartlettUCL.