The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


DPU running ‘Sustainable Cities’ summer school for UCL’s Global Citizenship programme

9 June 2014

DPU is running the sustainable cities strand at the UCL Global Citizenship Programme 2014

During the first two weeks of June the DPU is running a summer school for 60 UCL undergraduate students focused on the theme of ‘Sustainable Cities’. The school is one of four strands that make up UCL’s ‘Global Citizenship’ programme for first-year students, concentrated on each of the four themes of UCL’s Grand Challenges.

The DPU programme, called Global Alliances for Local Change, seeks to explore the major challenges and potentials for promoting sustainable and equitable cities in the context of urbanization and globalization. Using a case based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, it draws from the Masters-level Windsor Workshop activity as well as from the recent fieldwork undertaken in the city by the MSc Urban Development Planning (UDP) programme, and is in collaboration with the international NGO Homeless International and Dar es Salaam-based Centre for Community Initiatives (CCI).

The programme involves a series of lectures delivered by DPU staff and teaching fellows and inputs from Homeless International. Lectures focus on an introduction to key concepts including urban poverty, informality, sustainable development, social and environmental justice and environmental hazards and climate change.

Across the two weeks students also participate in a simulation exercise exploring a fictionalised harbour redevelopment plan for Dar es Salaam. In six actor groups, students take part in role-playing and group work activities facilitated each afternoon by DPU Graduate Teaching Assistants and PhD students. In character, students are encouraged to define their ‘sustainability principles’, understand their resources and capacities, stage tactics, and develop alliances in view of their vision for change.

Another integral part of the programme is skills development, which includes Swahili classes and training in video narrative construction and production. At the end of each week, students produce a video output in their character groups. A key element of the school is the use of media as educational resource, with the students given a range of interviews to draw upon, recorded in Tanzania in May 2014.

The programme seeks to inspire and explore with students the core preoccupations of the DPU related to urban planning and development, as well as generate an appreciation of the complexity of negotiation and collaboration around different understandings of ‘sustainable cities’.

The programme is coordinated by Stephanie Butcher, Matthew Wood-Hill, Alex Frediani and Di Jiang. The GTAs and PhD students involved in facilitation are Hector Becerril, Rodrigo Caimanque, Laura Hirst, Henry Mathes, Cristian Olmos, Ignacia Ossul, Diana Salazar and Nikhilesh Sinha.