The Bartlett


Ethics in the Built Environment

Ethics in the Built Environment was a project funded through a Bartlett Small Grants Scheme (July 2014 – July 2015).

The project has developed an understanding of the role ethics plays in built environment research – specifically in terms of the methodologies chosen by researchers and their relation to disciplinary procedures/institutional settings – seeking to include more engaged participants, greater clarity around how data can be used/shared, improved public trust through greater transparency, clearer more relevant working processes on ethics for researchers.

To do this, the research has positioned built environment research between academia, on the one hand, and the built environment professions, on the other. 

Led by Professor Jane Rendell, who was Director of Architectural Research (2004-11) and Vice Dean Research for the Bartlett (2010-13), the project brings together researchers from across the Bartlett and UCL, whose collective expertise covers action-based, humanities, participatory, practice-led, social science and science methods, including:

  • Public engagement in interactive design – Dr Martin Austwick
  • Planning research, public engagement and work with community groups – Dr Claire Colomb
  • Participatory research into sustainability and energy use – Dr Lai Fong Chiu
  • Health and performance of occupants and building design – Professor Dejan Mumovic
  • Organizational behavior and change in project-based industries – Dr Satu Teerikangas
  • Governance in the global south. Dr Michael Walls has written on and worked extensively in the Horn of Africa, and particularly the Somali areas, in which his focus has included the interventionist roles played by external agents, including donors and the diplomatic community and their ethical, practical and social effects.

This project has employed two research assistants – Dr Charlotte Johnson and David Roberts – who have mapped definitions and procedures relating to ethics both at UCL and in the built environment professions involving literature reviews and ethnographic interviews.

The projects has also involved seminars and a conference, and future outputs will include an edited volume, and an ethics code.


From November 2014 to October 2015, four events took place as part of the Ethics in Built Environment Research funded by the Bartlett Small Grants Scheme. Further related events have taken place since then.


In the media

Our Ethics in the Built Environment activities have generated great response from the media, which really seem to endorse the importance of work in this area.

Further information

The Bartlett faculty principles are:

  • equity
  • autonomy
  • integrity
  • sustainability

You can read more on UCL's ethical principles below: