The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Decoloniare l’urbanistica - new book co-edited by DPU's Camillo Boano out now in Italian

12 May 2022

Congratulations to DPU's Camillo Boano, Co-director of the UCL Urban Laboratory and Prof. of Urban Design and Critical Theory, for his new co-edited Italian book, Decoloniare l’urbanistica edited with Antonio di Campli (Polito Italy) out now!

Book cover of Decoloniare l’urbanistica co-edited by DPU's Camillo Boano

The book includes a chapter from DPU's Dr. Catalina Ortiz and some images by DPU alumni Dr. Ricardo Martèn Caceres. Roughly translated with a programmatic intention as “decolonizing urbanism”, the book attempts to rewrite some of the narratives that define western design discourse through coexistence.

Through a collectively constructed, multi-vocal discourse, the book reconceptualises urban and architectural design in its intimate, relational, reparative dimension, amplifying certain possibilities of spatial thought through strategies suggesting an animalistic movement and action. For the authors, coexistence is a project of radical intimacy and the book reflect on design dimensions can possibly initiate better relations between differences, between different collectives, subjects, and imaginaries and foster greater solidarity between forms of life.

This book is organized in four essays operating, from different perspectives, a critique of our Western conception of spatial thoughts, trying to outline a possible form of decolonial approach to design. The first essay (by di Campli, Boano) poses the question of the sense and value of the decolonial theory within the practices of the project through a complex operation of dislocation and translation of some key concepts of that thought into figures and strategies of urban and architectural design. This text is followed by a visual essay that attempt to frame such dissonant project as: the descamino, which serve as the title of the series in which the book is included.  

The second essay (by Rachele Borghi, Sorbonne, Paris) is based on the construction of links between feminist and decolonial epistemology, through which the constraints and possibilities of spatial research are made explicit, in particular, academic research. At the centre of these reflections is the body as space, as an instrument of resistance and as a vehicle of relationships.

The third essay (by Catalina Ortiz) reasons knowledge capable of distancing itself from established forms of consolidated forms of socio-spatial investigation of a Western matrix. The concept of sentipensar, understood as thinking and feeling space through collective affections and popular economies, is aimed at defining ways for the multiple modes of interaction between territory, body, mind and affects.

The fourth text (by Catalina Mejía Moreno, Central St Martin) insists on the relationship between body-territory-land and how this relationship can trigger forms of resistance. This relationship corresponds to forms of invisibility linked to practices of caring for the body and its relations with the territory.

The last essay (by di Campli, Boano), puts forward some hypotheses on the meaning and value of our disciplinary and pedagogical practices and on the ways in which our research and teaching methods reproduce colonial hierarchies of power and knowledge. A decomposed monograph that in its provocative dimension, tackle directly the urgent task to think architectural and territorial project operationalising indigenous critique on a projectual level, opting for a for a pluriform, marginal, cannibalistic, opaque thought, which is not aimed at any productivity or performance, but which is profoundly generative, regenerative. As a refusal to the call to order, as a as a desire to inhabit the space produced by colonialism, as dissonance with systems of control and dominant design imagery. While the book is now only in Italian, the series “descamino” is welcoming submissions and proposals in other languages too.