DPU summerLab was born out of the MSc Building & Urban Design in Development (BUDD) course in 2009 and expanded in 2010 to a wider Bartlett Development Planning Unit initiative. Drawing on the progressive action-research and practice-based ethos of the DPU in collaboration with local partners in various host cities, the workshop series aims to leverage the reality of the city as a laboratory for developing socially responsive design measures. It is intended to provoke, stimulate, and reconsider the role of designers in promoting spatial justice.
Focusing on the changing landscapes, contested processes and interdependencies within cities, the DPU summerLab series asserts that to appropriately engage in this arena, a critical recalibration is required concerning a new paradigmatic shift in the cultures and disciplines of design and urban practice.
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 spatial knowledge development. 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, hybridized spatial interventions embedded with socio-political agendas.