The Bartlett School of Planning


Jorge Martín Sainz de los Terreros

Thesis title: Eventual urbanism, an enquiry on socio-material participation

Primary supervisor: Professor Yvonne Rydin
Secondary supervisor: Dr Tse-Hui Teh
Starting date: September 2013
Projected completion date: September 2016

The purpose of my research is to unlock current debates on public participation in the realm of urban theory and practice, debates traditionally grounded on human-centred perspectives. The aim of my thesis is to reconceptualise both the concepts of participation and public by drawing on a socio-material perspective – specifically Actor-Network Theory and New Materialisms – and combine it with urban and political studies – in particular, an agonistic approach. In drawing on such combined approach, participation will be understood as socio-material performative phenomenon rather than as an instrument of decision-making processes, and public as a set of practices related to the formation and emergence of issues and their networks of affection.

The research focusses in eventual urbanism practices developed in temporarily used urban sites. In particular, it studies the case of El Campo de la Cebada, a publicly owned urban site in Madrid managed by a heterogeneous group of people since 2010. The research intends to follow the actors and practices of this specific site through an ethnographic methodology. In doing so, the research questions how socio-material participation enables temporarily used urban sites to change and how such practices constitute socio-material “communities”. The underlining idea is that socio-material participation may indeed enable that progress by constituting hybrid socio-material communities through agonistic relationships. The intention of the research is to understand the fluid dynamic nature of these communities formed through the enactment of participation, and the relationships among the different actors involved in them. The social, aesthetic, political and normative implications of such way of understanding participation are discussed. Ultimately, the thesis intends to contribute to urban theory and practice by considering how the incorporation of a socio-material understanding of participation could have an impact in the development of alternative urban models.


I am an architect, urban designer and researcher working in the interdisciplinary realm among urban studies, political science, social sciences and design, keen on bridging disciplines and knowledge.

Since 2001, I worked for several urban design and architecture offices such as West8 Urban Planners and Landscape Architects (Rotterdam, 2002), Cero9/AMID arquitectura (Madrid, 2001-2004) and Josep Llinàs (Barcelona, 2005-2011). From 2004 onwards, once I graduated as an architect at the Polytechnic University of Madrid, I also developed my own practice collaborating with several firms and professionals, being awarded with several practices in international competition.

In 2011, I moved to London to continue and develop further my researching and teaching career. I studied the MSc City Design and Social Science (2011-2012) at the LSE, where I had the possibility to connect social sciences with urbanism. There, I develop a research on collaborative networks related to cooperative food consumption. Currently, I study a PhD and teach at the Bartlett School of Planning at the UCL, work that I combine it with several freelance collaboration as a consultant and urban designer with different firms. 

Publications and other work


Martin Sainz de los Terreros, J., Amos, C., Ibrahim, D., & Morel, M. (2012), ‘Exchange Publics, Whitecross Street’ in Public City. LSE Cities Programme Studio 2012. Edited by Fran Tonkiss and Suzanne Hall. London. pp. 115-135.

Conference Presentations

Martin Sainz de los Terreros, J. ‘¿Colaboran las cosas?’[Do things collaborate?] accepted for Seminario Investigaciones al límite [Research on the limit Seminar], 6th July 2015. Madrid.

Martin Sainz de los Terreros, ‘No-públicos: acciones, cuestiones y partes irrelevantes’ [No-publics: irrelevant actions, issues and parties]accepted for V Encuentro de la Red de Estudios de Ciencia y Tecnología [5th Spanish Network Conference of Science and Techonology Studies], 1st -3rd July 2015. Madrid. 

Martin Sainz de los Terreros, J. ‘Public(s) Participation and Eventual Urbanism’ accepted for Assembling Cities: STS concepts and methodologies in planning studies. 21st-22nd January 2015. ETHZ, Zurich.

Martin Sainz de los Terreros, J. ‘Material participation in Eventual Urbanism’ accepted for IV Encuentro de la Red de Estudios de Ciencia y Tecnología [4th Spanish Network Conference of Science and Techonology Studies], 4th-6th July 2014. Salamanca.

Martin Sainz de los Terreros, J. ‘Understanding material participation in event-ual urbanism’ accepted for Bartlett PhD Conference 2014, 15th April 2014. London. Session 4: Structuring Space & Place.


2012. Honourable Mention. ‘EUROPAN 12’. Site: Barcelona, Spain. ‘Right to infrastructure, Expose, propose politicise’. With Giulia Toscani and Miguel Martín.

2008. Honourable mention. ‘EUROPAN 9’. Site: AMA, Spain. ‘Refurbishing of a mining complex’. With Elena Mostazo Romeo.



ENVS1017: Urban Lab I: Graphic Skills  ENVS1018: Introducing Urban Design: Design Skills



BENVGSU8: Governance for Urban Sustainability: Project
  • ENVS3016: Urban Design: Space and Place