The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


DPU summerLab

The DPU summerLab workshop series aims to leverage the reality of the city as a laboratory for developing socially responsive design measures.

Borne out of the MSc Building & Urban Design in Development (BUDD) course in 2009 and expanded in 2010 into a wider The Bartlett Development Planning Unit initiative, it is intended to provoke, stimulate, and reconsider the role of designers in promoting spatial justice.

Focusing on cities’ contested spaces, their mutable landscapes and visible/invisible thresholds, the DPU summerLab asserts that – to appropriately engage in this arena – a critical recalibration of (architectural and urban) design practice is required: every year’s workshop series lies within, and wants to contribute to, this paradigmatic shift.

The DPU summerLab seeks to establish a unique rotating platform for in situ immersion and experimentation where the boundaries of spatial agency and design processes are actively pushed, hinging upon critical analysis and design research.

The workshops – which are geared toward students and emerging professionals with backgrounds and/or keen interest in the urban environment – offer a vital testing ground for the proposing of contextual, hybridised spatial interventions deeply embedded into socio-political agendas. 

Read and download the latest DPU summerLab pamphlet, with works and reflections from the 2015 workshop.


Lab pages

2016 series
2015 series
2014 series
2013 series
2012 series
2011 series


Dr. Camillo Boano - Programme Director

Camillo is a qualified architect with a Masters in Urban Development and a PhD in Planning from Oxford Brookes University. Currently Director of the MSc Building and Urban Design in Development at the Bartlett Development Planning Unit, his research focuses on urban design, shelter/housing interventions and socio-spatial transformation within the exceptional circumstances of disasters, displacement, and conflict.

He has consulted and worked in Nicaragua, Ecuador, Venezuela, Salvador, Lebanon, Jordan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo, Sri Lanka, India and Indonesia. Camillo is also a reviewer for Disasters, International Development Planning Review, Urban Design and Planning Journal, Journal of Refugee Studies.

He is an associate lecturer in Planning at Oxford Brookes University and a visiting lecturer at University of Bologna and Polytechnic of Turin.

Email: c.boano@ucl.ac.uk

Giorgio Talocci - Coordinator

Giorgio Talocci (BSc, MArch, MSc) is a Teaching Fellow in the MSc Building and Urban Design in Development at the Development Planning Unit. Currently co-director of the MSc Building and Urban Design in Development, he runs the modules Transforming Local Areas - Urban Design for Development (term 2), Critical Urbanism Studio II - Designing Investigative Strategies for Contested Spaces, and collaborates to the coordination of the MSc BUDD’s practice module.

He is a PhD candidate in the PhD programme Development Planning, with a research on the potential of ‘failure’ in Urban Design, grounded into the reality of Phnom Penh, Cambodia – where he collaborated with several NGOs during a 7 months fieldwork. His background is in architecture and urban design. He graduated in Rome (Faculty of Architecture - University of Roma Tre) with a thesis on the transformation and decay of collective housing structures over time.

He has been a designer for the office Atenastudio, where he worked on several urban regeneration projects in Tirana, Albania, and developed an interest for the implications and potentialities of Urban Design in developing contexts. This interest led him to enrol in the the MSc course Building and Urban Design in Development at the DPU, where he graduated with Distinction in September 2010.

Email: ucfugit@ucl.ac.uk

Application and fees

The DPU summerLab is open to all students and professionals with an interest in urban environments.


The international participation fee for each workshop is £400. For currently enrolled DPU students (2014-15) and DPU alumni the fee is £300. Discounted fees apply for participants that intend to register for multiple workshops and for group applications (5 people or more).

Please note these fees do not include travel or accommodation, though advice and local information will be provided.


Participants are responsible for obtaining any visa they might require to which the DPU can provide proof of workshop registration if needed.

Personal equipment

Participants will need to bring their own laptops and digital equipment. Please ensure that this equipment is covered by your own insurance as the DPU cannot take responsibility for items lost or stolen during the workshop.


The deadline for application has now passed, but we are happy to consider late applications on a first come basis for the workshops that have been activated: Beirut, Palermo, Barcelona and London only

To apply, please e-mail a CV and letter of motivation along with the application form to dpusummerlab@ucl.ac.uk. The application form can be downloaded from the link below, in Word format. If you are applying as a group of at least 5 people, please download instead the group application form. Although not required, a design portfolio may be submitted with the application in PDF (please do not exceed 5MB).

Expression of interest

Interested in joining dpu summerLab? The deadline for application has now passed, but we are happy to consider late applications for the workshops that have been activated: Beirut, Palermo, Barcelona, London only. 

Please email dpusummerlab@ucl.ac.uk if you have any queries. For more information about the application process please click on the applications page. 

development planning