Designing Cities Year 2


Tutors: Giulio Verdini & Corinna Dean

Giulio Verdini is Reader in Urban Planning and Course Leader of the BA Designing Cities. He is also vice-President of ILAUD, The International Laboratory of Architecture and Urban Design, founded by Giancarlo De Carlo in 1976

Corinna Dean established the Archive for Rural Contemporary Architecture, ARCA + Drawing Matter will host a workshop this summer at Shatwell Farm, which will construct an interpretation of James Gowan’s shed using organic materials. Her most recent research paper will trace the vital materialism of the former dynamite factory on the Hoo Peninsula and host a Temporary Field Station of the Estuary Festival.

Year 2: Climate Urbanism Studio

The Studio investigates how to build up climate resilient post-pandemic cities and neighbourhoods, capitalising on existing learning from the Covid-19 outbreak. In particular, it explores ways to address global environmental challenges and to tackle ‘the many social and economic dimensions of this crisis, while focusing on the most vulnerable’ (UN-Habitat, 2020). The aim is to redesign cities to strengthen their resilience against all hazards (pandemics, economic shocks, climate). Urban areas unveil the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of the combined effect of top-down measures and bottom-up mobilisation of communities to face such global and complex challenges. 

Students have engaged with current debates on the impact of Covid-19 on cities, and acquired knowledge of analytical tools, methodologies and good practices related to the emerging field of climate urbanism. A framework of sustainability has been proposed to guide students to formulate a landscape and urban strategy for the selected study area.

The studio was part of a broad research project initiated by ILAUD (the International Laboratory of Architecture and Urban Design) on ‘Contemporary Cities under Shock and Stresses’ (CCSS), culminating in a virtual workshop held in Milan in late April 2021.

The case study selected is the Lower Lea Valley in East London. Due to its very fragmented nature, being comprised of large-scale industrial areas and mixed residential areas, in some cases with problems of social depravation, the area has remained relatively untouched by the large property developments of the London Docks, but equally affected by the Olympic Games regeneration project to the north. Since then, a framework for a new linear park along the Lea was proposed but never fully implemented. This is because its location, between the boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Newham, has been always considered a ‘backyard’ and not politically relevant. Today, in light of the impact of the pandemic, this area is being reconsidered as an important ecological resource with the potential to reinforce its role of social and environmental infrastructure for the surrounding residential areas. Students have therefore worked to propose resilient and green solutions for the future of the river area. 

Archive of Designing Cities Year 2’s work from previous years:

BA Designing Cities Y2 2018-2019