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Visiting Research Fellows

Image from 'Virtual Olympics' by MArch Unit 16 student, Philip Poon

From January to April 2014, four Research Fellows join The Bartlett from a number of institutions across the world to work on the contested field of sustainability from an urban, social and political perspective.

Each of the Visiting Fellows will conduct research and collaborate with Faculty staff from The Bartlett on subjects related to our chosen research theme for 2013-14, Sustainable Cities.

Dr Andy Merrifield

Dr Andy Merrifield will be working on Neo-Haussmannization mentored by Michael Edwards (The Bartlett School of Planning) and Professor Murray Fraser (The Bartlett School of Architecture)

Biography

Andy Merrifield is a writer, social theorist and urban geographer with a PhD in Geography from the University of Oxford. He has taught at assorted universities in the UK and USA. Merrifield is co-editor (with Erik Swyngedouw), of The Urbanization of Injustice (1995) and author of eight books, including Metromarxism (2002), Dialectical Urbanism (2002), Guy Debord (2005), Henri Lefebvre: A Critical Introduction (2006), Magical Marxism (2011) (which was shortlisted for the 2012 Bread and Roses Prize), and most recently, The Politics of the Encounter: Urban Theory and Protest under Planetary Urbanization (2013).

His many essays and reviews have appeared in publications including Adbusters, The Nation, Harper’s Magazine, New Left Review, Harvard Design Magazine, and The Times Magazine.

Andy's new book, The New Urban Question, will be published by Pluto Press in March 2014.

Project

Neo-Haussmannization is a new riff off an old tale of divide and rule through urban change, of upscaling the physical environment to upscale the social and political environment. What happened in mid-nineteenth-century Paris now happens globally, now creates a new urban fabric clothing the whole wide world.

The neo-Haussmannite urban process might be best described as parasitic. In parasitic cities, social wealth is consumed through conspicuously wasteful enterprises, engineered by parasitic elites who squander generative capacity by living exclusively from speculative, unproductive activities.

The parasitic perils of neo-Haussmannization are accorded considerable attention in The New Urban Question. So, too, are the possibilities for alternative forms of democratic urbanization. How to reclaim the parasitic city for people? How to introduce participatory democracy into failing representative government? How to create new civic institutions and spaces that can foster this democratic impulse? How to mastermind ‘planned shrinkage’ of our hypertrophic financial system?

Dr Beatrice Agnese De Carli

Dr Beatrice Agnese De Carli will be working on Insurgent Regeneration, a critical review of notions and practices mentored by Dr Adriana Allen (The Bartlett DPU) and Dr Ben Campkin (The Bartlett School of Architecture).

Biography

Beatrice Agnese De Carli completed her architectural studies at the Politecnico di Milano, Italy, including a PhD in Architecture & Urbanism developed in collaboration with the University of Leuven- KU Leuven, Belgium (2011, Hons).

She has previously held positions as Research and Teaching Assistant at Politecnico di Milano, and worked in practice in Milan for several years. Since 2011, she has taught Urban Design and Urbanism at Politecnico di Milano and University of Leuven - KU Leuven. Her research focuses on issues of territorial regeneration, housing and participation in urban design, specifically in contexts of conflictive spatial change and/or scarce resources. She is interested in developing creative research and teaching methodologies and alternative modes of spatial practice, including an on-going interest in activist practices in urban contexts.

Beatrice is a member of Architecture Sans Frontières Italy, an architectural NGO that works between architecture and community and international development. Recently she has been appointed as Vice Chair of Architecture Sans Frontières-International.

Project

Insurgent Regeneration: a critical review of notions and practices investigates the notion of ‘insurgent regeneration’ as a way of looking at the capacity of occupant practices to inform and steer state-led discourses on ‘sustainable urban regeneration’ in inner city areas of the Global South.

As such, the project aims to address two distinct challenges: the cyclical decay and deterioration of cities and their sustainable resurgence and adaptation, and the housing crisis in the Global South – particularly in its manifestation through the informal occupation of vacant and deteriorating buildings and site. This project aims to bridge these typically disparately debated challenges.

Whilst much is argued around the citizen-led transformation of ‘informal settlements’, there has been little focus on the self-organised reuse and revitalisation of buildings in declining central urban neighbourhoods. Furthermore, there has been little consideration on how the ‘urban renaissance’ agenda engages in dialogue with such practices, and with the alternative notions of urban development that they convey.

In response, this research centres on the links, contradictions and potential alliances between these two parallel areas of knowledge. The primary aim of this baseline study is to develop research methods and interpretive frameworks appropriate for informing a postdoctoral research proposal to be submitted in 2014.

Eduardo Canteros

Eduardo Canteros will be working on Urban Values from a Grassroots Organisation in the Urban Regeneration Process mentored by Dr Ben Campkin (The Bartlett School of Architecture) and Dr Alex Frediani (The Bartlett DPU)

Biography

Eduardo Canteros is a sociologist with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and a recently submitted PhD in Architecture and Urbanism. He has worked in academic positions in different social sciences schools in several Chilean universities and institutions of higher education and been Senior Lecturer in subjects such as Epistemology; Social Problems; Social Research Design; Community Social Work; and Social Work and Poverty.

Throughout his academic career he has developed research studies mainly based on qualitative approaches. His main topics of interest are urban collective action, citizen participation, community expertise, and micro sociological approach, which have involved important challenges in developing countries as well as in developed countries.

Project

Located in the Borough of Hackney in northeast London, Urban Values from a Grassroots Organisation in the Urban Regeneration Process will examine specific urban regeneration projects rejected by the community.

The aim of this research is to identify and analyse the urban values configured by community organizations when they reject urban regeneration projects. This research will be developed from a pragmatic perspective, and through qualitative data, tries to answer the questions of which everyday dimensions are intervened by which urban regeneration actions; which actions, contents and media have been developed and mobilized by grassroots organization to control the problem; and how they have made a ​​public complaint to stop or modify the intervention of urban regeneration (strategies and argumentations).

This research is a bottom-up option for knowledge generation, where we aim to recognize the expertise and community knowledge as a part of urban regeneration process in the city of London.

Professor Zhigang Li

Professor Zhigang Li will be working on Social Sustainability in Transitional Chinese Cities mentored by Professor Fulong Wu (The Bartlett School of Planning) and Dr Le-Yin Zhang (The Bartlett DPU).

Biography

Zhigang Li is Professor of Urban Studies and Planning at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Sun Yat-sen University.

As one of the best-known urban scholars in south China, Professor Li got his PhD at University of Southampton in 2005. Most of his studies target on the sociospatial transformation of Chinese cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, and he works widely on consultancy projects or in research for cities in southern China including Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Dongguan.

In the last decade, Professor Li has published over 70 papers, ten book chapters and hundreds of media columns or commentaries, which provide wide social impacts.

Being the Deputy Chief of Chinese Young Geographer Union, and the Chinese Editor of Urban Studies, an international peer-reviewed journal, he maintains a wide and sustainable academic cooperation network with scholars across the world.

Project

The aim of Social Sustainability in Transitional Chinese Cities is to examine social sustainability in urban China, the largest developing economy of the world.

Urbanisation is becoming China's national strategy, yet little is known about the social implications of emerging cities, for instance socio-economic-cultural gaps among polarizing social strata; the urban integration of hundred millions of rural migrants; the resultant quality of life, segregation and social trust.

This project will focus on three key determinants: sociospatial integration, quality of life, and planning – space matters to social development. During his staying at The Bartlett, Zhigang Li will work closely with mentors, Fulong Wu and Le-Yin Zhang, along with other colleagues, to explore both intensive and extensive urban studies.

The project aims to create important impacts upon the practices of city and community-making in China or other developing countries.