The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


DPU summerLab

The DPU summerLab workshop series aims to leverage the reality of the city as a laboratory for developing socially responsive design measures.

summerLab 2018
Born out of the MSc Building & Urban Design in Development (BUDD) course in 2009 and expanded in 2010 into a wider The Bartlett Development Planning Unit initiative, it is intended to provoke, stimulate, and reconsider the role of designers in promoting spatial justice.

Focusing on cities’ contested spaces, their mutable landscapes and visible/invisible thresholds, the DPU summerLab asserts that – to appropriately engage in this arena – a critical recalibration of (architectural and urban) design practice is required: every year’s workshop series lies within, and wants to contribute to, this paradigmatic shift.

The DPU summerLab seeks to establish a unique rotating platform for in situ immersion and experimentation where the boundaries of spatial agency and design processes are actively pushed, hinging upon critical analysis and design research.

The workshops – which are geared toward students and emerging professionals with backgrounds and/or keen interest in the urban environment – offer a vital testing ground for the proposing of contextual, hybridised spatial interventions deeply embedded into socio-political agendas. 

Read and download the latest DPU summerLab pamphlet, with works and reflections from the 2015 workshop.

Please scroll down for more information on applications and fees

Lab pages

2018 series
2017 series
2016 series
2015 series
2014 series
2013 series
2012 series
2011 series



Dr. Camillo Boano - Programme Director

Camillo is a qualified architect with a Masters in Urban Development and a PhD in Planning from Oxford Brookes University. Currently Director of the MSc Building and Urban Design in Development at the Bartlett Development Planning Unit, his research focuses on urban design, shelter/housing interventions and socio-spatial transformation within the exceptional circumstances of disasters, displacement, and conflict.

He has consulted and worked in Nicaragua, Ecuador, Venezuela, Salvador, Lebanon, Jordan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo, Sri Lanka, India and Indonesia. Camillo is also a reviewer for Disasters, International Development Planning Review, Urban Design and Planning Journal, Journal of Refugee Studies.

He is an associate lecturer in Planning at Oxford Brookes University and a visiting lecturer at University of Bologna and Polytechnic of Turin.

Email: c.boano@ucl.ac.uk

Giorgio Talocci - Coordinator

Giorgio Talocci is an architect by training and a Teaching Fellow in the MSc Building and Urban Design in Development at the Development Planning Unit. Currently he runs the modules Transforming Local Areas - Urban Design for Development (term 2), Critical Urbanism Studio II - Designing Investigative Strategies for Contested Spaces, and the MSc BUDD’s studio module.

He is a PhD candidate in the PhD programme Development Planning, with a research questioning the emergence of emancipatory practices in derelict and interstitial spaces in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. He is the author of several academic papers reflecting on: the impact and political significance of forced displacements of urban poor populations; the necessity of reclaiming a social relevance for architecture and urban design; the agency of design in the city’s government and politics. He has been awarded the International Journal of Housing Policy’s Best Early Career Article Prize 2017 for the paper "The de-politicisation of housing policies: the case of Borei Keila land-sharing in Phnom Penh, Cambodia." He has long-term experience as a researcher and practitioner in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and took part to several experiences of community-driven upgrading of urban poor settlements in Turkey, Brazil, Philippines, Italy. In the last seven years he collaborated often with the activities of the Community Architects Network and the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights, as part of a wider commitment toward the pursuit of a socially just and sustainable urban transformation.

email: giorgio.talocci.11@ucl.ac.uk


Azadeh Mashayekhi – Co-Coordinator

Azadeh Mashayekhi (BSc, MArch, MSc) is a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the MSc Building and Urban Design in Development at the Development Planning Unit.

Originally trained as an Architect in Iran, and later as an urban planner in the Netherlands at the Technical University of Delft (TUDelft), she specialized over the years in the fields of urban development planning and urban policy mobility. She has over 10 years’ international experience in research and practice in different countries in the Middle East and Europe. As an academic her work focuses on political and institutional dynamics of urban development planning in the context of the global south.

Over the years she worked for several international organizations, offices, and universities including UNESCO in Iran, Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) in Rotterdam, Delft University of Technology, and University of Westminster in London. She has been working on several urban design and master plan projects at (OMA) in Rotterdam - she has been involved in various teaching courses at the department of Urbanism (TUDelft), and also took part in number of research projects at TUDelft and University of Westminster. She is part of the editorial team at the International journal of Planning Practice and Research. 

Application and fees

The DPU summerLab is open to all students and professionals with an interest in urban environments.

The international participation fee for each workshop is £375 (early-bird discounted rate) or £425 (standard rate). The fee is discounted to £275 (early-bird rate) or £325 for: currently enrolled DPU students (2016-17), DPU alumni, and group applications (5 people or more). Discounted fees apply for participants intending to register to multiple workshops too, please contact us for further info. If you wish to submit a group application (five people or more), please use the ‘group application form’ instead (you can find this below in the ‘Applications’ section). Please note these fees do not include travel or accommodation, though advice and local information will be provided.

Participants are responsible for obtaining any visa they might require to which the DPU can provide proof of workshop registration if needed.

Personal equipment

Participants will need to bring their own laptops and digital equipment. Please ensure that this equipment is covered by your own insurance as the DPU cannot take responsibility for items lost or stolen during the workshop.


The deadline for application for the 2018 series has passed. However we are still accepting applications for London, Athens and Amman. Please send in your application ASAP!

The applicant will need to e-mail the form, along with a CV and a letter of motivation to dpusummerlab@ucl.ac.uk

Expression of interest

Interested in joining dpu summerLab? Please email dpusummerlab@ucl.ac.uk if you have any queries. For more information about the application process please click on the Applications menu

development planning design