The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Planning and insurgent practices for socio-environmental transformations

This sub-group is concerned with two interrelated questions. On the one hand, it focuses on whether new global demands on cities – especially responding to climate change and integrating urban processes within the capitalist economy – are compatible with achieving socially and environmentally just and thriving cities.

In this context, the aim is to contribute to existing debates on actual and desirable low carbon transition paths in the urban global south and the ensuing socio-environmental manifestations of global-local tensions in specific contexts.

On the other hand, this sub-group looks at socio-environmental transformations through the practices of ordinary citizens and constituency pressure groups in response to a wide range of challenges in the making of environmentally just and resilient urban transitions.

From this perspective, the sub-group aims to contribute to theoretical and methodological debates on the agency and practices deployed by grassroots actors and allied organisations – defined through their intersectional positionality and practices – to cope, confront and/or transform hegemonic planned interventions through contesting place-making meanings and materialisations.

The practical aim is to generate site-specific planning tools to achieve both environmental and social justice, as well as economic viability in the multiple manifestations of urban transitions.

The theoretical project of the sub-group has three interrelated components: 1) Analysing the relationship between global demands and local impacts on the urban environment; 2) Examining critically the role of knowledge production and innovation in environmental planning; and 3) Understanding how collective urban visions are articulated in everyday practices and their scope for positive transformation. Situating this intellectual project in the context of development in practice generates the following research interests:

  • The historical and spatial conditions that configure urban patters of inequality in the context of planetary urbanisation;
  • Everyday practices of contestation of established socio-environmental regimes;
  • The potential for inclusive decision-making mechanisms in environmental planning which recognise a diversity of environmental values and contextual knowledges;
  • The trade-offs between competing environmental values and future alternatives of change.



Prof Adriana Allen 
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Dr Vanesa Castan Broto
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Dr Alexandre Apsan Frediani
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Dr Le Yin Zhang 
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Etienne Von Bertrab
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PhD Students

Nick Anim

Monica Bernal Llanos

Giovana Helena de Miranda Monteiro

Martin Sanzana Calvet

Soozin Ryang

Tatiana Ome 

Rosalina Babourkova

Elizabeth Rapoport

Hayato Kobayashi

Katarina Soltesova