The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Stefano Mastromarino

Learn about Stefano Mastromarino, Development Planning MPhil/PhD student starting his studies in 2023.

Stefano Mastromarino

About Stefano Mastromarino

Here is Stefano Mastromarino, an Italian student of the Development Planning MPhil/PhD course at The Bartlett Development Planning Unit. Stefano speaks Italian (native), English, French (fluent), and German (intermediate), and is a scholar of the ESRC UBEL-DTP studentship.

Stefano's thesis is titled 'Beyond shelter. Towards an atlas of architectures of holding' and explores subaltern urbanism, migrants’ solidarity, makeshift shelters, and carceral geographies.

Stefano's research aims

I am an architect and PhD candidate studying contemporary spaces of makeshift inhabitation and informal support of people in transit across European cities and internal borders. My research aims to theorise and reframe new forms of subaltern urbanisations in Europe, that sustain the power of marginalised autonomies, destructuring the monist dimensions that classify practices and spaces as (il)legal, (im)mobile or (un)inhabitable. How do makeshift camps, squats and other forms of informal habitat reshape the contemporary urban patterns of capitalist European cities and internal borders? Can these resistance strategies help to decipher new practices of dwelling beyond the shelter?  

Stefano's research aims

Drawing on abolitionist, and feminist scholarship as well as critical urban studies, I will analyse the ambivalent relations between control and care, examining through the makeshift what I refer to as the architectural embodiment of some ‘spaces of holding’. I will initially look at the central Mediterranean route to the UK, focusing on so-called migrants' corridors between Italy, France, and the UK. By providing a critical reading of institutional methods of refugees’ hostipitality, I aim to suggest looking at informal shelters as new non-dominant and non-singular support through a ‘humane urbanism’ of actions of solidarity. The research will benefit from a qualitative approach, based on ethnographic analysis through participant observation. My doctoral degree is fully funded by ESRC UBEL 2023/24. 

Stefano's academic and professional experiences

I hold a BSc in Architecture and an MSc degree in Architecture, Construction and City from Politecnico di Torino. During my education, I had the chance to study at TU Dortmund in Germany and ENSA Paris Belleville in France, where I developed my MSc dissertation. Here I also worked as a research intern at Laboratoire IPRAUS of the ENSA Paris Belleville for the development of the platform “Architecture et précarités”. My research interests are constantly renegotiated through my engagement as an architect, planner, activist, and volunteer. Besides academia, I have been volunteering to support people in transit throughout France and Italy. Prior to joining the DPU, I worked as a UASC Support Worker for a non-profit organisation that provides support and accommodation to young people seeking asylum in the UK and young refugees.   

Discover more about Stefano on LinkedIn and follow his reflections on Twitter

Primary supervisor: Professor Camillo Boano 

Secondary supervisor: Dr Giovanna Astolfo

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