The Bartlett School of Planning


Urban Design Research Group

We aim to examine the theories, processes, practices, actors and pedagogies of urban design.

Core Focus

The urban design research group’s work ranges from fundamental theoretical questions about the nature of urban design to direct engagement in the practice, policy and teaching of urban design.  Our reserch falls into four main areas of work:

  • Design governance: the practices of state intervention in the means and processes of designing the built environment and the planning, development, regeneration and conservation processes to which they relate.
  • Public space and morphology: the streets, spaces and local infrastructure of the city, their physical form and how they are designed, managed, connected and used over time.
  • Society, economy and urban design: the influence of urban design on social interaction and behaviours and how the economic and social value of place is mediated by the built environment.
  • Engaging in urban design: the role of urban design and studio-based teaching in a creative and reflective built environment pedagogy and the involvement of communities in collaborative design processes.


Joao Bento

Dr João Bento 
Research Fellow
João Bento researches urban design governance approaches across Europe, focused on design policy and informal tools of urban design governance.
View João's profile


Matthew Carmona
Professor Matthew Carmona
Professor of Planning and Urban Design
Matthew Carmona researches urban design governance, public spaces, and the value of urban design. He Chairs the Place Alliance.  
View Matthew's profile
Visit Matthew's personal blog
View Matthew's Twitter 
Elisabete Cidre
Dr Elisabete Cidre
Principal Teaching Fellow
Elisabete's research interests focus on: (urban planning) curriculum design and pedagogy, urban design (policy, practice and education), urban heritage conservation, the role of public space in placemaking and placeshaping, and on reflective learning procedures in built environment academia.
View Elisabete's profile 
 Wendy Clarke
Claudio de Magalhaes
Professor Claudio de Magalhães
Professor of Urban Management and Regeneration and Head of School
Claudio's interests have been in planning and the governance of the built environment at various levels, looking at property development processes and urban regeneration policy, the management of urban quarters, and the provision and governance of public space. He is currently working on a new book comparing the governance and management regimes for public spaces in London and Hong Kong. 
View Claudio's profile
 Valentina Giordano
Research Fellow
Valentina is an Urban Designer with over 15yrs UK experience. As a Research Fellow her interest is focused on generating a base line of knowledge about the quality of the built environment and its delivery. She manages the Place Alliance, chaired by Prof Matthew Carmona. 
View Valentina's profile
 Colin Haylock
Visiting Professor 
Colin is a practicing architect-planner and urban designer. His prime practice and educational interests lie at the interface between design and planning particularly in highly sensitive environments.
View Colin's profile
Katayoun Karampour
Dr Katayoun Karampour
Teaching Fellow 
Katayoun is interested in the role of governance in urban design and city planning. She is particularly interested in the role of public sector in mobilising social growth in urban design and regeneration projects. 
View Katayoun's profile
Stephen Marshall
Dr Stephen Marshall
Professor of Urban Morphology and Urban Design and Faculty Graduate Tutor (for Research Students)
Stephen's principal interests are in relationships between urban morphology, urban design and planning, including street networks, urban evolution and in relation to art and science. 
View Stephen's profile
Juliana Martins
Dr Juliana Martins
Senior Teaching Fellow in Urban Design
Juliana’s interests span two areas: (1) relationships between economic activities and the spatial configuration of the city; and (2) Urban Design research and teaching practice.
View Juliana's profile
 Professor Taner Oc
Pablo Sendra and Richard Sennett
Dr Pablo Sendra
Lecturer in Planning and Urban Design, Programme Director for MSc Urban Design and City Planning and Programme Director for CPD Civic Design
Pablo Sendra’s main areas of research interests are social housing neighbourhoods, the involvement of grassroots movements in urban planning, and collaborative urban design and planning processes. He studies the impact that regeneration processes have on people’s relationships and looks at design strategies that encourage unplanned activities and sociability in the public realm.
View Pablo's profile
Michael Short
Dr Michael Short
Senior Teaching Fellow in Planning
Programme Director for MPlan City Planning
I am interested in practice-based projects, teaching and research which examine the negotiation of a higher-quality built environment particularly in the historic environment.
View Michael's profile
Richard Simmons
Dr Richard Simmons
Visiting Professor
Richard's interests are Interaction of urban economics with placemaking; planning & urban design without state planning; evaluating the impact of design policy.
Hui Teh
Dr Tse-Hui Teh
Lecturer and Careers Tutor
View Tse-Hui's profile
Richard Timmerman
Dr Richard Timmerman
Research Fellow
The impact of formal and informal urban design processes in the creation of lively urban spaces, micro-morphologies, and the digitisation of urban design techniques
View Richard's profile
Filipa Wunderlich
Dr Filipa Wunderlich
Lecturer and Programme Director for MRes Interdisciplinary Urban Design
Filipa's key research areas include urban temporality, place-rhythms and rhythmanalysis, temporal and sensory urbanism, the urban and performative aesthetics, urban design research methodologies, ambiguous and performative place typologies ofthe contemporary city.
View Filipa's profile
Jingyi Zhu
Jingyi Zhu 
Design and development process of urban projects especially public spaces centred on transforming urban backgrounds, design practices, and relationship of actors.
View Jingyi's profile 


PhD Students
 Kyunghyun Baek 
Irene Manzini Ceinar
Irene Manzini Ceinar 
Irene is undertaking an ESRC-funded PhD and is a member of the European COSTAction CA18214 project. She is interested in new workspaces and their transformative effects on the urban context.
Anon Chaimanee
Anon Chaimanee 
Anon's interests are urban design and conservation approaches for Southeast Asian cities that are attuned to historical background and rhythmic patterns of everyday life in public space.
View Anon's profile 
Gregorio Graziano
Graziano Di Gregorio 
Graziano is an Urban Designer with experience in residential & mixed-use master planning, infrastructure planning and industrial development. Research interests lie in large scale infrastructure projects and urban development.
View Graziano's profile 
Alexandra Gomes
Alexandra Gomes
Research interests include the interface between the built environment and the use of public space, walkability, multi-sensory urbanism, and environmental perception of public space.
View Alexandra's profile 
Miguel Hincapie Trivino
Miguel Hincapié Triviño 
Research interests include conservation planning of cultural landscapes, and the influence of everyday and organised practices in the enhancement of landscape character, both in rural and urban environments.
View Miguel's profile 
Lin-Fang Hsu 

Lin-Fang Hsu 
Lin-Fang’s research interest focuses on the urban evolution and the urban spatial formation driven by high-tech, digital and innovation economies.
View Lin-Fang's profile


Elisabeta Ilie
Elisabeta Ilie 
At the crossover between urban design and human geography, Elisabeta's research interests encompass issues of spatial inclusion, co-productions of the ‘urban’ and accompanying social ‘other’.
View Eliasabeta's profile 
Reetuparna Sarkar
Reetuparna Sarkar 
Reeruparna is an architect-urban designer with a Master's in Spatial Planning (BSP, UCL) and Urban Design (Gold Medalist, SPA, India). Her research interests include built environment and public space interface relationship and design, place identity and meaning, and environmental perception of and behaviour in public space.
rotem Shevchenko
Rotem Shevchenko
Rotem's interests lie in curation practices led by corporation and other actors, that aim to nurture employees’ lifestyles, suggesting a scaling up that extends beyond the workspace into the urban, and from work to other spheres of everyday life.
 Lubaina Mirza 


Research Projects
Design Governance 

Urban Maestro is an initiative of UCL, UN-Habitat and BMA, supported by the European Commission under Horizon 2020.  The project – co-led by Matthew Carmona – is exploring the use and potential of informal tools of urban design governance across Europe (and beyond).  Through a series of workshops across Europe over two years, combined with interviews, commissioned papers and a review of evidence, the project is seeking to understand the most effective and innovative urban design governance tools and allied financial mechanisms.  

Visit the Urban Maestro website


A Housing Design Audit for England was a Place Alliance Initiative in collaboration with the CPRE and harnessing the support of a diverse alliance of organisations and specially trained volunteers across the country.  Design audits represent a systematic approach to assess the design quality of environments, in this case142 large-scale housing-led development projects across England.  The audit establishes a new baseline from which to measure progress on housing design quality in the future and to begin to ask some of the questions around why housing design in the volume housebuilding sector is like it is.

Visit the National Housing Audit page on the Place Alliance website


Councillors’ Attitudes Towards Residential Design - This Place Alliance report summarises views from a national survey of local councillors in England on their approach to the design of new residential development. For too long we have been building too few homes and those that we build are often of a quality that unites local communities in opposition against them.  Understanding the role of local politicians as regards the design of new housing development: their aspirations, motivations, mode of operating and frustrations, was the purpose of this national survey. This research asks, how are our local politicians playing their part in helping to deliver better design. The research was conducted by Valentina Giordano in collaboration with DEsign Network, with the support of a BSP undergraduate students Anastassia Guisseinova under the Laidlaw Scholarship Programme.

Visit the Councillors' Attitudes page on the Place Alliance website


Recent Publications

September 2022

Carmona, M. (2022). Royal Urban Design. matthew-carmona.com

July 2022

Carmona, M. (2022). Authority-wide design codes, four key questions (and answers). matthew-carmona.com

June 2022

Carmona, M. (2022). Testing Design Codes in England - 21 Lessons. matthew-carmona.com

August 2021

Carmona, M. (2021). The existential crisis of traditional shopping streets: the sun model and the place attraction paradigm. Journal of Urban Design.

April 2021

Carmona, M. (2021). Exploring the Evolving Dimensions of Urban Design. Routledge.

March 2021

Carmona, M. (2021). The “public-isation” of private space – towards a charter of public space rights and responsibilities. Journal of Urbansim: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability

February 2021

Carmona, M. (2021). Public Places Urban Spaces, the dimensions of urban design. 3rd edition. Routledge

Livingstone, N., Fiorentino, S. & Short, M. (2021). Planning for residential ‘value’? London’s densification policies and impacts. Buildings and Cities2(1), 203–219.

December 2020

Short, M. and Livingstone, N. (2020). Planning for densification and housing in London: Urban design and real estate agendas in practice. Critical Dialogues of Urban Governance, Development and Activism. UCL Press

Sendra, P. and Fitzpatrick, D. (2020). Time to be an activist: Recent successes in housing activism in London. Critical Dialogues of Urban Governance, Development and Activism. UCL Press

October 2020

Clifford, B., Andres, L., Carmona, M., De Mangalhaes, C., Durrant, D., Edwards, M., Ferm, J., Freire Trigo, S., Gabrieli, T., Gallent, N., Hamiduddin, I., Karampour, K., Moore, S., Morphet, J., Natarajan, L., Rydin, Y., Sendra,. P, Short, M. & Turcu,. L (2020). Planning for the Future White Paper: Consultation response from academics based at the Bartlett School of Planning, UCL

August 2020

Karampour, K. // Implications of density bonus tool for urban planning: relaxing floor area ratio (FAR) regulations in TehranInternational Planning Studies doi: org.libproxy.ucl.ac.uk/10.1080/13563475.2020.1802235