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Inclusive Spaces

Join The Bartlett’s monthly Inclusive Spaces event series to explore equity, diversity and inclusion in the built environment.

How can we break down systematic inequalities in urban spaces? How can we build better for everyone?

Join us each month as we explore equity, diversity and inclusion in the built environment, and delve into the latest research and ideas from The Bartlett’s world-leading thinkers on race, gender, LGBTQ+, and disability.

Every month we'll be tackling issues such as Navigating Space Under Lockdown, the young BAME experience; Accelerating Islamophobia and emerging ‘Mosquephobia’; Crippling educational space; and, Decentralising solar economy. We'll also be adding more sessions as the year progresses, so keep checking back for updates. ​


Upcoming events


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Past events


Season 2

Mental Health and Social Justice in the Urban Outdoors

Explore insights into how park users derive wellbeing from greenspaces, the crucial role these can play for people’s mental health, and the lived experiences of disadvantaged and minority groups who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

Recording: Mental Health and Social Justice in the Urban Outdoors

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About the speakers

Dr Liza Griffin is a Lecturer in Environmental Politics at The Bartlett Development Planning Unit, UCL. Her research lies within the field of human geography, but her work spans health, spatial politics and development studies more broadly.

Kay Pallaris is a Strategic Environmental Planner whose work has included many facets of sustainable development planning and urban regeneration working at the interface of spatial research, policy and practice. 

Maxwell Mutanda is a Lecturer in Environmental and Spatial Equity, and Co-Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.

CurrenSee - An inclusive attention economy

Explore data representation and the socio-economic inclusivity of non-human vantage points and volatile urban environments.

Recording: CurrenSee - An inclusive attention economy

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About the speakers

Current is an interdisciplinary, intercultural collective whose digital practice is driven by an interest in the reciprocal relationships between virtual and physical spaces. Through the medium of volumetric cinema, ‘Current’ delineates the multiplicity of futures in the attention economy.

Daniel Fitzpatrick is a Lecturer (Teaching) in Planning at the Bartlett School of Planning, University College London. His research is focussed on social sustainability, governance of social infrastructures and community-led responses to climate change. 

Exploring gender inequality in the built environment

Bartlett alumna Sherin Aminossehe walks us through her experience in the built environment and the changes that need to be made for gender equality.

Recording: Inclusive Spaces: Exploring gender inequality in the built environment

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About the speakers

Sherin Aminossehe is currently Director of Infrastructure and Race Champion at the UK Ministry of Defence, and is a Bartlett alumna. 

Paroj Banerjee is the co-lead of the EDI unit at the Development Planning Unit. She is an ethnographer by training and her research interest centre on urban dispossession and responses to spatial inequalities.

Visibility, Inclusivity and Allyship in Built Environment Professions

In our latest Inclusive Spaces lecture, Dr Sam Chandan, Anna Coltrane, Adrian Silver, and Bartlett alum Tres Seippel explore the importance of being a built environment professional and visible members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Recording: Inclusive Spaces Visibility, Inclusivity and Allyship in Built Environment Professions

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About the speakers

Tres Seippel is a real estate strategy and finance executive. He is the Chair of the UCL New York Alumni Club, a Board Member of the University College London Friends and Alumni Association (UCLFAA), and a young committee member of the Real Estate Pride Council. 

Adrian Silver is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University, where he teaches real estate sustainability.

Anna Coltrane currently serves as the Director of Development at Space Craft where she is responsible for all aspects of new project development from acquisition through lease-up. 

Dr Sam Chandan is the Larry & Klara Silverstein Chair and academic dean of the NYU SPS Schack Institute; Founder and Non-Executive Chairman of Chandan Economics; Forbes contributor; and, host of the Urban Lab podcast and Real Estate Hour on SiriusXM

Decentralising solar economy

This Inclusive Spaces lecture explores insights on how civilization can be redefined in the face of our energy crisis, and the potential of solar energy development in compensating our modest urban capacities in renewable energy.

Recording: Inclusive Spaces Decentralising solar economy

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About the speakers

Provides Ng is a teacher at the Bartlett School of Architecture, an architect and researcher who studies the emergence of digital tools, their applications, and impacts on urbanism.

Alberto Fernandez is a Professor of Architecture at UCH, a Digital Design Tutor at The Bartlett at MSci Architecture, MEng AD and MArch AD.

David Doria is an architect and urbanist interested in the convergence of digital technologies and architecture, and a technical skills tutor for the Research Cluster 4 in Bartlett's Architectural Design program.

Crippling educational spaces

This panel discussion explores how we can critique the existing shape of higher education through the richness of our neuro and biodiversity differences, rather than ‘adding’ disabled people or merely including them into existing normative higher education practices.

Recording: Inclusive Spaces Crippling educational spaces

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About the speakers

Dr Jos Boys is Director of the Learning Environments Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Centre (LEEDIC), and Course Lead for MSc Learning Environments. She is a co-founder of the Matrix Feminist Design Collective, and of The DisOrdinary Architecture Project.

Margaret Price is Associate Professor and Director of the Disability Studies Program at the Ohio State University. She is currently at work on a mixed-methods investigation, the Disabled Faculty Study, which combines survey and interview data to learn more about the experiences of disabled faculty in higher education.

Poppy Levison is a 3rd year UG architecture student at Central Saint Martins, UAL. As a blind person, she speaks about architecture’s tendency to fixate on the visual rather than the experiential, as well as the politics of inclusive design. She was a founder participant of the Architecture Beyond Sight intensive study course (an ongoing disability-led collaboration between The Bartlett and The DisOrdinary Architecture Project that explores ways to challenge ableist built environment education practices).

Accelerating Islamophobia and emerging ‘Mosquephobia’

In this talk, Professor Ali Alraouf discusses Islamophobia, and explains how it is related to inclusivity in the built environment, particularly in mosques. He explores how creativity in a mosque's design, alongside activities, openness, and its relation with the community and the urban context would lead to a better perception of Muslims and Islam. 

Recording: Accelerating Islamophobia and emerging ‘Mosquephobia’

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About the speakers

Prof. Ali Alraouf is an architect, urban designer, and planner interested in research and practice in the domain of theory, criticism, and creativity in architecture and urbanism. He is head of research and development at the Ministry of Municipality in Qatar and is also a professor at HBK University in Qatar Education City. 

Sara Motwani is a second-year student studying Engineering and Architectural Design (MEng) at the Bartlett School of Architecture. 

Navigating Space Under Lockdown, the young BAME experience

This session examined the key findings of the Navigating Spaces Under Lockdown project, which documented the experiences of Black and racially minoritised young adults in England during the COVID-19 pandemic. Co-led by the Bartlett Development Planning Unit, The Ubele Initiative and FOAM20, and funded by The National Lottery Community Fund, this project explored how young people’s experiences of home, work, mobility, community, and well-being have been affected by the pandemic and by prolonged periods of lockdown.

Recording: Navigating space under lockdown, the young BAME experience

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About the speakers

Dr. Barbara Lipietz is Associate Professor at the Development Planning Unit where she directs DPU’s MSc in Urban Development Planning and convenes the DPU Research Cluster on Urban Transformations.

Dr Jordana Romalho is a Lecturer in Development Planning for Diversity at the Bartlett Development Planning Unit and co-director of the MSc in Urban Development Planning at UCL. Her research spans the fields of feminist political ecology, gender and development and urban geography, and seeks to promote more socially just urban development. 

Participatory design and diversity 

This event explored how the co-design of public spaces in areas affected by displacement and conflict can promote inclusivity and redress unequal power relations.

Recording: Participatory design and diversity

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About the speakers

  • Dr Andrea Rigon is an Associate Professor at The Bartlett Development Planning Unit
  • Joana Dabaj is the Founder at CatalyticAction

Season 1

Queer perspectives: cross-cultural experiences in physical and online space

This event explored a variety of cross-cultural perspectives highlighting the physical and online experiences of queer people worldwide, and discussed the varied relationships that queer folk, especially QPOC (Queer People of Colour), have with the spaces they occupy, move through or are regulated by. 

Recording: Queer perspectives: cross-cultural experiences in physical and online space

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About the speakers

  • Dr Sharif Mowlabocus is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University, New York. His research is located at the intersection of digital media studies and sexuality studies. 
  • Dr Regner Ramos is Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Puerto Rico. His research on the relationship between queerness and space is informed by experimental research methods, shifting between model-making, drawing, and performative writing.
  • Professor Ben Campkin is Professor of History and Theory of Architecture and Urbanism at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. He is the author of Remaking London: Decline and Regeneration in Urban Culture and leads UCL Urban Laboratory’s work on Queer Infrastructure.
  • Claire Tunnacliffe is a research student at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. Claire's doctoral research focuses on queer practices of placemaking: urban constellations of LGBTQ+ activism in London. 
Preventing ‘ruins of regeneration’ through youth-led co-design

This event explored the role youth-led design can have addressing the negative consequences regeneration has on young people in East London.

The panel showed how design thinking can be leveraged by young people in the local area to make regeneration work better for young East Londoners, and how their design as part of the Fuse project came from a consideration of what 'prosperity' means to young East Londoners and how it will support young people to thrive in the careers they want.

Recording: Preventing ‘ruins of regeneration’ through youth-led co-design

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About the speakers

  • Hannah Sender is a Research Fellow in the UCL Institute for Global Prosperity. Her research focuses on the relationship between adolescence, societal change and mental health.
  • David Adesanya is a sponsored athlete, architecture graduate and social innovation fellow.
  • Diana Hysenaj is an undergraduate student at Queen Mary University, a Young Artist at NEWYVC Choir and an ambassador for Brokerage social mobility charity. 
Why is cultural heritage under threat in London?

This event examines the nexus between ethnic minority spaces, London heritage policies (both local and city-wide), and the creative industries. It shares recent research findings on what is described as gentrification through 'hipsterfication', and its impact on ethnic minority spaces in London's East End – notably Brick Lane's Banglatown.

Parallels with other 'ethnic majority' are also be explored, in collaboration with the Just Space Network, an informal alliance of around 80 community groups, campaigns and concerned independent organisations acting as a voice for Londoners at grass-roots level.

Recording: Why is cultural heritage under threat in London?

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About the speakers

  • Saif Osmani, a postgraduate research student at The Bartlett School of Architecture, and an interdisciplinary creative practitioner specialising in the fine arts and architectural design.
  • Mama DCommunity Centred Knowledge
  • Richard LeeJust Space Network  
Rethinking disability and built space

This interactive workshop session will start from the work of disabled artists, designers, campaigners and scholars. We will discuss how engaging with disability at the intersections can be both a creative design generator, and a key means to challenge and change what is ‘normal’ in the design of the built environment.

In architecture and related fields in the built environment, disability as a concept – and disabled people – continue to be predominantly framed through a set of outdated and functionalist categories (wheelchair user, blind, deaf, etc.).

There is still a widespread assumption that ‘disability’ is unable to bring any kind of creativity to the design of human spaces.

Since 2008, the DisOrdinary Architecture Project has been challenging this assumption by promoting new practice for the built environment, led by the creativity and experiences of disabled artists.

By finding innovative and enjoyable ways of bringing together disabled creatives with built environment students, educators, researchers and practitioners, DisOrdinary Architecture is co-developing new forms of valuing, and designing with, the rich bio- and neurodiversity of our many different ways of being in the world.

Recording: Rethinking disability and built space

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About the speakers

  • Dr Jos BoysSenior Lecturer in Environments for Learning, The Bartlett Real Estate Institute & co-director of The DisOrdinary Architecture Project
  • Natasha Trotman, Artist in Residence at Somerset House, and a designer whose work explores extending the frontiers of knowledge around mental difference, non-typical ways of being and marginalised experiences. Natasha Trotman's studio practise site
  • Raquel Mesquer, founder and Artistic Director of Unchartered Collective, where she develops projects and an aesthetic exploring difference as a creative tool, including 'A Crash Course in Cloudspotting (the subversive act of horizontality)'. https://uncharteredcollective.com/
Re-thinking architecture to create social value

This session will be led by award-winning architect and Bartlett alumna Tumpa Husna Yasmin Fellows.

In part one, we’ll explore inclusive design methods, and answer key questions: How can architecture enable the voices of underrepresented communities to enable spatial justice? How can architects design for social value creation in places, buildings and neighbourhoods? How can designing inclusive spaces help us respond to the climate injustice? We’ll bring these issues to life with  case study projects from the practise Our Building Design, which enabled marginalised local voices to be heard through community participation and evidence-based research, tackling complex social and environmental issues faced by the disadvantaged communities.

Part two will expose the urgent issue of diversity in the architecture profession. FAME collective is a research-based platform responding to a lack of understanding of how race and gender affect practitioners, young scholars and students in architecture and the built environment. We’ll explore how these professions need to diversify, in order to reflect the diversity of the local communities they are serving.

Recording: Re-thinking architecture to create social value

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About the speaker

Tumpa Husna Yasmin Fellows is an award-winning British architect, and Bartlett alumna (UCL Architecture BSc 2005, Grad Dip 2008, MArch 2010, RIBA/ARB - Part 3- Professional Practice 2011).

She co-founded the inter-disciplinary practice Our Building Design, the charity Mannan Foundation Trust, and two organisations that promote and support architects from the ethnic minority in the UK: FAME collective and Asian Architects Association. She is also part of the Design Review Panel for the Southwark Council Planning Department.

She is a Senior Lecturer in architecture at the University of Westminster where her teaching draws on her research methodologies on interdisciplinary approach to design.

She is a PhD candidate, her research focuses on community participatory methods on architectural responses to the changing climate, landscape and social practices, in the UK and in Bangladesh.

She was awarded the RIBA-J Rising Star Award in 2017, and a commendation for the RIBA President’s Award for Research in 2019. For her architectural work she has received the SEED / Pacific Rim Community Design Network Award 2018 and Architecture Sans Frontieres Award 2017 commendation.  

Levelling the playing field

With over 30 million children forcibly displaced across the globe, can play spaces provide places of refuge, equity and inclusion?

Emergencies of forced displacement are prevalent across the globe, as of 2019, 40% of the 79 million people forced out of their homes were children. However, research often ignores the plight of urban refugee children who have limited access to resources and rights within the built environment.

Using Kitengela, a peri-urban town in Kenya as a case study, we’ll explore how play spaces can become significant places of safety, social integration and developmental progress.

Through the process of storytelling and digital mapping, we’ll look at the material and spatial characteristics which promote the naturally occurring play culture – while also foregrounding the issues that prevent both refugee Congolese children and host Kenyan children from accessing play in an inclusive, equitable manner.

This work has been developed by Marie Williams, based in the UCL Institute of Global Prosperity, through the process of co-design, in collaboration with local researchers and over 200 participants in 2020.

Recording: Levelling the playing field

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About the speaker

Marie Williams is a senior product development engineer, designer and academic who has adopted co-design principles to collaboratively create contextual solutions to a variety of social and environmental challenges our world faces. A finalist to the Institute of Engineering Female engineer of the year, her playful career has seen her collaboratively create innovative solutions within a range of industries, ranging from aerospace to nuclear building design, to corporate social responsibility and most importantly play.

In 2016 she launched Dream Networks and began a journey to enable inclusive play4all children through the process of co-design. To date Dream Networks has collaborated with businesses, schools and communities in the UK and East Africa to bring play to over 4,000 children. She is a PHD student at the Bartlett Institute of Global Prosperity and an exchange scholar at Yale School of Architecture. Through her situated, participatory co-design research project, she hopes to generate accessible and tailored play solutions that enable children from the Kenyan and Refugee community in Kitengela thrive through play. 

Are you a UCL academic and interested in presenting at an Inclusive Spaces event? Please contact Alma Daskalaki at a.daskalaki@ucl.ac.uk to register your interest.