The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


(Post)Pandemic Planning in the South(s)

The DPU ‘(Post)Pandemic Planning in the South(s)’ follow-up series brings the question: How does development planning need to be reshaped in pandemic times?

(Post)Pandemic Planning in the South(s)
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new imperatives for the field of Development Planning. As a response, last year DPU proposed a webinar and blog series around ‘Post COVID-19 Urban Futures' as an outward facing space for reflection with scholars, practitioners, students, and alumni on the impacts the pandemic is having on the cities in all spheres of life. The question we used to connect all the sessions and written contributions revolved around: Are we ready to imagine a better post COVID world?  

In 2021, we aim to follow up this initiative to engage with contemporary debates that are shaping our research clusters agendas (Environmental justice, Urban Transformations, Social diversity, State and market, Contested territories). The DPU's ‘(Post)Pandemic Planning in the South(s)’ follow-up series brings the questions: How does development planning need to be reshaped in pandemic times? This new series aims at: a) Showcasing the staff’s pandemic-related work systematically; b) Discussing with colleagues/partners/alumni the learnings from the on-going pandemic; c) Reflecting around the implications of the pandemic and recovery efforts for research agendas (current and forthcoming).

Furthermore, this series seeks to discuss what are the prospects for planning socially just and sustainable development in the Global South in pandemic times as development planning is pivotal to navigate collectively uncertainty and disruption. Particularly challenging is addressing the ways in which the pandemic operates as an extension and amplification of the multiple systems that sustain territorial inequality such as capitalism, patriarchy, colonialism and racism.

We intend to have one online event per month, with both DPU colleagues and external guests. Please follow us on social media for further info:  

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Governing futures: Multilevel governance for urban equality

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13 October 2021, 3:00 pm–4:00 pm
The first event of the ‘(Post)Pandemic Planning in the South(s)’ series focuses on emergent and long-term challenges and possibilities for development planning, and on the impact of the pandemic on urban equality seeking endeavours and governance strategies. 

Some of the cross-cutting issues addressed will be the tensions on the localization of global agendas; multi-actor and multiscale alliances and partnerships; grassroots mobilization and informal settlement upgrading initiatives; urban conflict and security regimes; and digital divide and use of technologies for intersectoral coordination.

Chaired by
Dr Catalina Ortiz, Associate Professor and leader of the MSc Building and Urban Design in Development at The Bartlett Development Planning Unit, UCL. 

Prof Caren Levy, Principal Investigator at Knowledge in Action for Urban Equality (KNOW), and Professor of Transformative Urban Planning at The Bartlett Development Planning Unit, UCL.
Dr Jaideep Gupte, Fellow of the Institute of Development Studies and leader of the Cities Cluster. Currently seconded to lead the Cities and Sustainable Infrastructure portfolio of the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), UKRI. 

Event link

Housing justice and urban planning during pandemic times: A DPU dialogue with prof Raquel Rolnik

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The second event of the ‘(Post)Pandemic Planning in the South(s)’ centres around questions of housing justice and urban planning during pandemic times. It will be framed by a presentation from Prof Raquel Rolnik regarding her experience of leading housing research at LabCidade, Sao Paulo, during the pandemic, and will unfold as a conversation between Raquel and the DPU’s Prof Adriana Allen and Dr Paroj Banerjee.  

During the discussion, Raquel’s recent research into territorial mobilisations and the role of planning in the biopolitical urban governance of Brazilian cities, will be brought into dialogue with Adriana’s experiences as President of Habitat International Coalition and Paroj’s emerging work on urban unsafety and houselessness in India during the pandemic. Closing with a chaired audience Q&A, the event promises a fascinating window into the ways in which the pandemic has served to simultaneously reveal, accelerate, and transform today’s housing question(s). 

Chaired by 
Prof Adriana Allen, Professor of Development Planning and Urban Sustainability at The Bartlett Development Planning Unit, UCL, and President of Habitat International Coalition (HIC). 

Prof Raquel Rolnik, Full professor Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo Universidade de São paulo and co-coordinator of LabCidade - Right to the city Laboratory.


Dr Paroj Banerjee (FHEA), Lecturer (Teaching) and Joint Programme Leader of the Development Administration and Planning (DAP) at The Bartlett Development Planning Unit, UCL.  

Is Wellbeing the Way Forward? Budgeting for a (Post)Pandemic World

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The economic consequences of the global pandemic have been far-reaching and deeply felt. They may also have upended economic policy making as governments tore up their fiscal rule books, supply-chains creaked, and low wages for ‘essential work’ became a glaring reminder of the gap that can exist between social and economic values. Add growing inequality and the looming climate catastrophe, and many are asking: does our economic system deliver the things that really matter? And if not, what can be done about it? 

In this context, there is growing interest in well-being approaches to align economic progress with broader social values and goals.  Many countries are looking to New Zealand – which introduced its first well-being budget in 2019 – as an example.  Although New Zealand was not the first country to introduce wellbeing measures into their policy decision making, their approach is arguably the most comprehensive to date – drawing on 60 indicators and integrated into the heart of the budget process.  Yet what is a wellbeing approach and how does it shape policy outcomes in practice? How are targets constructed, who decides, and under what conditions can it lead to meaningful change? 

Chaired by: Dr Alexandra Panman - Lecturer in Urban Economic Public Policy at The Bartlett Development Planning Unit, UCL

Speaker: Professor Arthur Grimes - Professor of Wellbeing and Public Policy at Victoria University

Discussant: Dr. George Larbi - Lead Public Sector and Governance Specialist in the World Bank


Our home is on fire: climate emergency and the pandemic

In the next event of our “(Post)Pandemic planning in the South(s)” seminar series, Prof Cassidy Johnson will engage in a conversation with Prof Vanesa Castan-Broto –Professor of Climate Urbanism at the Urban Institute, University of Sheffield– to discuss the urban impact of the current climate crisis and the links (and potential lessons) for a post-pandemic future.

Among other things, we will talk about Vanesa’s recent work as lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II Sixth Assessment Report, contributing to the chapter on cities, settlements, and key Infrastructure. Some of the key findings from the report to be discussed are: In all cities and urban areas, the risk faced by people and assets from hazards associated with climate change has increased; climate impacts are felt disproportionately in socially and economically marginalised urban communities; the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed systemic underinvestment resulting in multiple, persistent health related vulnerabilities, many of which also exacerbate climate change risk. Recently, the COP26 conference –held in Scotland in November 2021– further raised the critical issue of climate justice and the shortfalls in funding adaptation for the poorest countries.

Some of the guiding questions of this seminar will be: What is the room for manoeuvre in climate change adaptation? Can adaptation planning contribute more widely to achieving the synergies with other SDGs, while aiming at a more resilient post-pandemic future? Are there promising avenues for adaptation finance and urban infrastructure? Can city governments and local knowledge co-production contribute to reducing impacts on the most economically and socially marginalized, due to both health and climate hazards?

To enrich the debate we will invite EJUR research cluster members as commentators, finalising with a Q&A from our audience.

Chair/ discussant 1: Prof Cassidy Johnson - Professor of Urbanism and Disaster Risk Reduction at The Bartlett Development Planning Unit, UCL

Discussant 2: Prof Vanesa Castan-Broto - Professor of Climate Urbanism at the Urban Institute