UCL Urban Laboratory


The problem, the project, the institution: Reflections on the role of urban design education

In September 2012 the MArch Urban Design programme at The Bartlett School of Architecture embarked on a three-year project of design research titled The Mediterranean Project. During this time, a total of 15 year-long design studios, comprising over 200 students and numerous teachers, architects and researchers dedicated themselves to the following: how to use design as an instrument of social and political transformation. It set out to ask a fundamental question: after moments of social upheaval and political transformation - how do human aspirations and demands for change, survive? What sustains them, what gives them legitimacy, what lends them durability?

Based on three years of research exploring social transformation around the Mediterranean, this project set out to use the propositional nature of architecture and urban design to recompose and sustain precarious signs of change. Reaching a conclusion in late September 2015, this presentation provides an opportunity to reflect on the challenges and opportunities faced within urban design education by considering three aspects of the programme. Firstly, the kinds of problems considered relevant to design research. Secondly, the meaning and role of the project in an international educational setting. Finally, the need to re-imagine the role of the institution within a global context beyond its current form.   

Keynote paper by Adrian Lahoud (University College London).

Keynote Lecture and Discussion: 12.15-13.00, Thursday 17 September 2015, Darwin Lecture Theatre.

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