Finding common ground for designing inclusion

Forthcoming in Planning Theory Special issue:
Coproducing the just city: interrogating the civil society/academy interface
edited by: Barbara Lipietz (The Bartlett Development Planning Unit) & Agnès Deboulet (Université Paris 8)

Practices of Urban Inclusion centres around the lived experiences of migration, displacement and exile as key perspectives to understand how urban spaces can produce or challenge exclusion. In doing so, it explores how urban planning, architecture and spatial practice can contribute to addressing inequality and to making cities of care and conviviality, where more people feel welcome in more spaces.

The course was co-designed and has been co-taught by a network comprising four architecture/planning schools and three civil society organisations based in four European countries. The first pilot of the course took place in 2021 and involved hands-on workshops in neighbourhoods in Berlin, Milan and London—mobilising a diverse set of relationships, alliances, and encounters in each setting. The pilot revolved around the idea of ‘learning in action’, and brought together students, local activists and residents, practitioners and academics in the three cities to learn from each other and co-develop actionable knowledge about the implications of observing, designing and planning through the lens of movement and migration.

Reflecting on this experience, this paper will discuss three key aspects of the collaborative learning process that unfolded throughout the course:

Learning within. Firstly, we will investigate the situated nature of the collaborations that took place in each setting, by comparatively looking at the diverse urban challenges we encountered, and the different ecologies of practice, scales, and temporalities within which the course was set.

Learning with. Secondly, we will examine the relational aspects of the work, reflecting the hierarchies of knowledge and power that manifested in each context; as well as on the importance of affective relations across difference for creating the conditions for co-producing local knowledge.

Learning across. Finally, we will interrogate the experience of collaborating translocally, connecting positionalities, approaches, and practical tools in order to affect local change as well as to generate shared approaches to inclusive city-making.

Lucia Caistor-Arendar, London Metropolitan University
Prof. Francesca Cognetti, Politecnico di Milano
Dr Beatrice De Carli, London Metropolitan University
Prof. Dr Katharina Rohde, Universität der Künste Berlin / Jade University of Applied Science

Selected references
Haraway, Donna, ‘Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective’, Feminist Studies, Vol.14, No. 3 (1988), pp. 575-599.

hooks, bell, Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom (New York: Routledge, 1994).

Hill Collins, Patricia, Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness and the Politics of Empowerment (London and New York: Routledge, 2000).

Doucet, Isabel, and Helene Frichot, ‘Resist, Reclaim, Speculate: Situated Perspectives on
Architecture and the City,’ Architectural Theory Review, 22:1 (2018), pp. 1-8.

Costanza-Chock, Sasha, Design Justice: Community-led Practices to Build the Worlds We Need (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2020).