The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


The Curtain Falls on DPU60

22 December 2014

Closing DPU60

As the calendar year approaches its end, so too do we draw the curtain on our 60th Anniversary celebrations.

We formally closed DPU60 on Wednesday 10th December in an event where speakers from our four research clusters considered the Challenges in the DPU’s Next Decade. The recording of the event is now available to watch on YouTube:

DPU60 Highlights

As those of you who have been following our activities through our website and social media channels will know, this has been a very busy and inspiring year for all connected to the DPU.

For many of us the highlight of the year was the 60th Anniversary conference Thinking Across Boundaries: Re-Imagining Planning in the Urban Global South, which took place in July. Over 200 attendees joined us across 8 sessions. You can read a summary of proceedings on the DPU blog and listen to podcasts of all of the sessions online.

We had a strong DPU presence in several events at the 7th World Urban Forum in Medellín, Colombia. We were delighted to be joined by a strong showing of DPU friends and former students at our WUF alumni dinner. Some pictures of the event are on our Flickr page.

Short Film Series

You may have missed our excellent 3-part short film series Thinking Across Boundaries: Planning Dilemmas in the Urban Global South. The films ask some of the definitive questions in our field:

  1. Why call it the ‘urban global south’?
  2. What kind of planning practices does it call for?
  3. What kind of theory is required?

The project really benefits from the medium as it allowed us to bring together voices from top academics and development practitioners from around the world, creating a rich and diverse discussion.

60 Years of the DPU

Building on the booklet produced by Emeritus Professor Patrick Wakely for DPU’s 50th Anniversary, 60 Years of Urban Development: A Short History of the DPU reports on the timeline of the DPU from 1954 to 2014. This history places the DPU in context alongside the principal concepts of different decades, the major events and declarations of the times, and DPU’s own projects and responses. It is truly fascinating to read the history of development planning as seen through the eyes of our department’s own progress.

Two initiatives have sought to reflect on the past and look to the decades ahead. The DPU60 Working Paper Series: Reflections sees former DPU staff members write on their areas of expertise and consider where we are now and where we are headed. In the Looking Back, Looking Forward series of video interviews our former colleagues take a more personal introspection of their work at the DPU and where they see us heading, both as an institution and as a society. 

Dialogues in Development

Throughout the year we have hosted many events in our 60th Anniversary Dialogues in Development series. These have touched upon many aspects of our work, from the future of urban design and urban economies, to international housing policy and the Sustainable Development Goals. You can view the full list of the year’s events online, and catch up with any you missed via YouTube (videos) or Mixcloud (podcasts).

The different parts of our anniversary have all been captured and brought together on our dedicated DPU60 microsite, which will serve as a time capsule of the breadth of activities that made 2014 such an engaging and stimulating year – a true landmark in the history of the Development Planning Unit.

We now focus our attention on the decade ahead and the crucial times for urban and regional development planning that lie before us.