The Bartlett School of Planning


Socially Just Planning Doctoral Network

The Socially Just Planning Doctoral Network was created to discuss on-going research projects and initiatives, to develop ideas of social justice and equity around the field of planning.

An communal public square surrounded by buildings with lots of people walking and interacting with each other

1 April 2024


The Socially Just Planning Seminars aim to set the basis of the Doctoral Network, considering the realisation of a Seminar Series to involve people from the PhD in Planning Studies along with other departments from The Bartlett, as well as PhD students and staff from other faculties at UCL and other Universities.

We also focus on networking by complementing our seminars with social events and after-lectures activities, to boost interactions between people working on similar subjects. This will help PhD students to develop networking and presentation skills, useful tools for future conferences and training options. The interaction between presenters will also be relevant for the learning process, creating instances where the mature knowledge of more experienced researchers converges with the potential of the exciting freshness of young researchers.

Our objectives:

  • Engage doctoral students from different departments within the Bartlett, with interests in planning and social matters in cross-departmental initiatives, fostering the exchange of ideas and networking.
  • Develop activities with existing research groups at BSP and UCL or initiate collaboration with other UCL departments related to the topics of interest (e.g., engineering, geography, among others).
  • Promote seminars and interchange of ideas, critical visions, and methodologies to solve social constraints concerning planning effects.
  • Link transport, regeneration, comparative urbanism and public space studies under the umbrella term to create a wider network for knowledge information exchange that could provide deeper insights into social challenges in today’s cities

Alejandro Diaz Medalla, The Bartlett School of Planning
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Alexandria Chong, The Bartlett School of Planning
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Each of the Socially Just Planning Seminars Sessions explores different dimensions through which Planning, Transport, Regeneration, Urban Design, Architecture, International Urban Policy and Development interact with social justice and space. Thus, while the topics of discussion vary in each seminar, they inevitably present the different aspects in which planning involves directly to the production of social realities through the urban form.
Our last seminar series have covered different dimensions within the scope of housing and social justice, and different approaches to planning and organisation of public spaces and their impacts on social dynamics. After a long period of online-seminars during the pandemic, we are now back to in-person events, although we keep the chances open to remote events when needed.
During the last 2022-2023 academic year, the Socially Just Planning Doctoral Network hosted 16 events with 20 speakers from the UK, Europe, the Americas and Asia.
The diversity of presenters included academics from UCL departments such as the Bartlett Development Planning Unit (DPU), the Bartlett School of Architecture (BSA) as well as research institutes beyond UCL, including KU Leuven, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Copenhagen University, University College Dublin, The Chinese University of Hong Kong and others. The diversity of presenters includes academics, PhD students and activists. All of these presenters showcased interesting works which respond to the socially just challenge in different ways. These discussions enabled thought-provoking environments for new planning ideas.
By the end of each academic year, we host a final social event including a final seminar, a general account of the activities made in the past year and a networking final dinner with previous presenters and members of the network. We also take this opportunity to invite new people to join the Socially Just Planning Doctoral Network.
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Photo by the Socially Just Planning Doctoral Network