UCL Urban Laboratory


Urban Lab Alumna Launches Podcast Exploring People, Place and Home

8 February 2024

The women-led podcast, LOWLINES, follows Petra Barran and the stories of people she meets as she travels across the Americas.

A photograph of Lucia Scazzocchio, Petra Barran and Lina Prestwood

Food entrepreneur, Petra Barran (Urban Studies MSc, 2010), has launched a podcast called LOWLINES, which follows her solo travels through the Americas, meeting people with profound connections to the places they are from. She describes the podcast as a “sonic scrapbook” of her travels and a “pull to tune in to the pulse of place, to get closer to the ground, befriending strangers along the way.”

Petra is the founder of London street food collective, KERB, which she started while studying at UCL. She credits the Urban Studies MSc with helping her understand urban placemaking and how people, food, space and cities are connected.

KERB was created out of a desire to make street food accessible to everyone, bringing independent food traders together in the space between buildings to energise and add vibrancy to London’s concrete landscape.

Commenting on the purpose of KERB, Petra said:

I was able to use many ideas from the Master’s programme in the creation of the brand and our vision for it – ‘Making London taste better’. It was about creating new sites of sociality and also linking to the origin of so many cities being around trade and the market - and the prevailing unmediated human power of the market in a world of hyper-surveillance and cultural flattening in our cities.”

Through the LOWLINES podcast series, Petra explores home, placemaking and belonging, encouraging guests and listeners alike to reflect on a sense of ‘placefulness’, what makes a place work for the people who live there, and the benefits of slow and unplanned travel.

LOWLINES is available now on all good podcast streaming platforms.

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