The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Windsor Workshop

Through a dynamic role-play, students of the Bartlett Development Planning Unit work together across their different courses to simulate the complex processes of negotiating development strategies.

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The Bartlett Development Planning Unit’s (DPU) Windsor Workshop is a residential workshop held in Cumberland Lodge, located in the beautiful surroundings of Windsor Great Park, with supplementary meetings in London. DPU students from our various master's courses get to know one another and the complex processes of multiple actors negotiationg over development strategies through participating in a dynamic role-play. Through role-play, students explore how a multiplicity of stakeholders negotiate and attempt to influence planning and decision-making processes, based on their particular interests, motivations and resources. The workshop is a crucial part of the DPU and takes a pedagogical approach that starts a reflection on ethics and the positionality of our students as action-researchers, and is designed support postgraduate students in their reflections on the challenges of researching and planning in the Global South, putting theory into practice.

Discover our previous Windsor Workshop case studies which have included the Berbera Corridor, Dar es Salaam, Chennai, Medellin, Hargeysa and the Berbera Corridor. 

Previous Windsor Workshops

2023: Reflecting on Ethics and Positionality: a roleplay simulation along the Berbera Corridor, Somaliland

A student writing 'Stop the Hotel' on flipchart paper

In 2023, the DPU Windsor Workshop focused on several urban environments in Hargeysa and Berbera (Somaliland), affected to different extents by the so-called Berbera Corridor – a highway infrastructure connecting Addis Ababa, capital of the otherwise landlocked Ethiopia, to the coastal city of Berbera, in Somaliland, and its new port. Such infrastructure will mark and possibly boost the social and economic development of both cities for years to come, while at the same time putting stress upon a series of urban centres – as a result of demographic changes, increased pressure over land, the exacerbation of urban-health-related threats, and the possibility of damage or destruction of tangible and intangible heritage.

In this context, our partner for the workshop, Redsea Cultural Foundation worked with us to explore such themes and to further develop an understanding of the involved dynamics, while offering mutual pedagogical benefit to DPU students. Using a collective research-based and participatory approach – involving roleplay simulations – students across different programmes will engage in reading and interpreting the complexity of overlapping narratives, their repercussions in space, the agency of space and infrastructures over such processes. As part of our roleplay, we simulated a series of interactions on social media, too, reflecting further on the potentials and dangers of documenting and exposing field activities to wider networks and audiences.

View the photos from our 2023 Windsor Workshop

Windsor Workshop 2023 - DPU Flickr album

2020: COVID-19 and post-pandemic responses: laying the foundations for pathways to urban equality

In 2020 the we moved the annual residential workshop in Windsor online. In light of the pandemic, the online workshop was held over two weeks of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, engaging students to explore cases in the Global South from the DPUs KNOW programme. The workshop will provide a space to reflect on the extent to which organisational and institutional practices, in the context of COVID-19, are contributing to shaping pathways to urban equality. Navigating the difficult trade-offs of the current context, the workshop will also look towards developing an ethics of professional practice, considering various scenarios and tensions between mutiple actors, scales, and long-term risk reduction. 

2016 to 2018: Medellin, Colombia

A student holds up a sign reading 'From the hills to the river - Comuna 8 will live'

Using the case of the internationally acclaimed city of Medellin, students explored how actors use their leverage to negotiate urban transformations whilst debating the new imperatives for rethinking the role of the planner in the face of the Habitat III - New Urban Agenda. In particular, the workshop focussed on the urban strategies encapsulated in three strategic sites of the city where the motivations, interests and resources of urban dwellers, local government officials, civil society, private sector, and international agencies in Medellin will be deployed in myriad ways.