The Bartlett School of Planning


Juliana Martins

Research subject

Thesis title: The Extended Workplace: How Urban Form Supports Creative Production - A study of the digital media industries in London

Primary supervisor: Cláudio de Magalhães
Secondary supervisor: Quentin Stevens
Sponsor: FCT (Foundation for Science and Technology), Portugal
Starting date: February 2009
Completion date: 2016

The aim of my research is to investigate the spatial conditions that support digital media production in London. It examines the location patterns of the industry, the settings used for work (workspaces but also social spaces that are used for informal work activities) and their spatial characteristics. By investigating these issues, the research aims to clarify some of the complex relationships between place, urban form and creative production in contemporary inner-city areas.

The Extended Workplace

Work practices in the creative industries encompass social activities that are critical for creative production. For this reason, workspace is not limited to the office: it extends in time and space to urban settings in the area. The hypothesis is that these settings are relevant to understand where and how urban space supports creative production. At the same time, workspaces are changing in order to incorporate spaces for social activities and to foster collaboration. The research focuses on these multiple spatial settings used for work, following the diverse work practices within the industry, identifying the spaces where they take place and analyzing them using a theoretical body from both urban design and the social sciences.


Qualitative study with 2-3 case study areas in London (with relevant concentrations of digital media firms). Data collection methods: semi-structured interviews with key informants in the industry, documentation/visual data about the sites, and direct observation of the urban environment, relevant public and semi-public spaces and industry-related events.

Silicon Roundabout

The first case study area is Hoxton. This area is seen as an emergent location for technology firms, mainly related to web design, software development and other digital services. In 2008, it became known as Silicon Roundabout. More recently, the British Government announced the intention of boosting the technology hub in the area. The project has been named Tech City.


Juliana is an architect and urbanist. Since February 2009, she is undertaking a PhD research at the Bartlett School of Planning, UCL.

She holds a diploma in Architecture from the Faculdade de Arquitectura da Universidade Técnica de Lisboa (FAUTL), Lisbon, and a Master of Arts (MA Dist) in Housing and Urbanism from the Architectural Association School of Architecture, London. The MA dissertation was entitled “Redefining the Factory: spatial strategies for the integration of industry and urban living”. It aimed to explore how architecture could respond to the need of spatially articulate light manufacturing in inner-city areas.

Prior to starting the PhD, Juliana has worked as an architect and urban designer in Lisbon (Arqs, Lda – 1999/01 and 2002/04) and London (KPF - 2007/08). She also worked for the Portuguese Government as Member of the Cabinet of the Secretary of State for Transport (2005-07). More recently, she has worked as research assistant for the UCL/Lancet Commission on Healthy Cities.

She has taught in Lisbon as a guest course tutor in Faculdade de Ciência e Tecnologia, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, in 2005/2006, and in London as Post-Graduate Teaching Assistant at the Bartlett School of Planning since 2010 (modules ENVS3016 Urban Design: Space and Place and ENVS1018 Introducing Urban Design: Design Skills). 

Publications and other work

Martins, J. (2010), Extinguir as Freguesias, Cardoso, G. and Caraça, J. (eds) Ideias Perigosas Para Portugal - Propostas que se Arriscam a Salvar o País, Tinta da China, Lisboa

Martins, J. (2009), Lisboa pode ser uma escolha: Projecto-piloto de requalificação urbana em regime de project finance, in Arquitectura 21, No.6, 65-72, September 2009

Martins, J. (2009), Projectar a Cidade Criativa: a urbanização do parque tecnológico no projecto One-North, em Singapura, in Arquitectura 21, No.3, 50-33, April 2009

Martins, J. (2009), Cidades para além dos ISMOS: um olhar sobre o urbanismo comtemporâneo através do projecto Masdar City, in Arquitectura 21, No.1, 64-73, February 2009

Conference Presentations

First Research Seminar "Creative Workers in Creative Cities / Creative Regions in Southern Europe: Challenges and Opportunities", The Regional Studies Association Research Network "Creative Regions in Europe: Challenges and Opportunities", GRC Creativity, Innovation and Urban Transformation, Faculty of Economics and Business, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, 5-6 May 2011

Conference presentation (PDF, 1,9MB)

RGS-IBG Postgraduate Mid-Term Conference 2011 "Geographical Futures", Department of Geography, Durham University, 2 April 2011