The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Yiorgos Papamanousakis

My time in the DPU while working towards an MSc in Urban Development Planning, was a most formative, most inspiring, and most enjoyable period of my life. It has equipped me with an acute lens through which to understand cities and their development and act towards more socially just places for all. I felt incredibly inspired by the ethos of the DPU, its values and the values that underpin teaching and the work of my teachers there; much more than learning, I found the course unique in nurturing my passion for a more just urbanisation as well as in offering me the toolkit to help bring about such a vision.

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I have been drawn to urbanism and urban development ever since the early lectures of urban history while studying architecture. I have always been fascinated by the ways in which the relationships between spaces, people, and policies, affect how we all live in (urban) societies, and how changes in these relationships can transform our world for the better. Prior to joining the DPU, I had qualified and practiced as an architect in France, worked as a lecturer in architecture in Sweden, and founded my own company, Urban Transcripts, focused at the time on urban research and design workshops in partnership with local stakeholders in different cities in Europe. 

During my course, I deep dived into theories of social justice before exploring in practice how as a practitioner I can shape urban development through policy- and community-level work to advance and support socially just outcomes. I had the opportunity to work with community organisations, local and national urban development authorities, in London, UK, and Colombo, Sri Lanka. These fieldwork experiences have enabled my to both understand the ways in which high-level policies affect disadvantaged communities often disregarded in planning, as well as to generate and co-produce alternatives.


Completing the course part-time over 3 years alongside my work has been at times challenging yet being able to directly bring new learning into my work and likewise to explore questions coming from my work in my studies was incredibly fruitful and productive. While studying I took a break from my own company to work first as a consultant in the New Economics Foundation in London, and then as a Strategic Research Coordinator in the London Borough of Bexley. I am now back in Urban Transcripts as the director of the organisation expanding our work from design workshops to research and consultancy for urban development actors; my studies in the DPU have had a defining mark on this shift.