Supporting consultation on London Plan

January 21, 2018

Later: the Just Space response to the draft London Plan – embodying many UCL student inputs – is now finished 2 March.  Download

UCL students and researchers are active in supporting the process this winter in which Just Space is supporting its member-groups in responding to the consultations on the draft new London Plan.  At a major all-day conference at City Hall on 20th January 2018, opened by Deputy Mayor Jules Pipe and 9 members of the GLA planning team, 8 students played important roles like taking notes in workshops, while research and development work by others (students and staff) was presented or embodied in documents. Reports will appear over the coming days.  One journalist from Novaramedia tweeted…


Social Impact Assessment

December 19, 2017
On Thursday 14 December 2017, the UCL DPU and Just Space brought together community groups from across London to discuss how social impact assessment could be developed as a tool to protect community assets and social infrastructure, promote alternative development proposals and value social sustainability within London Planning.

The culmination of a term-long action research project by MSc Urban Development Planning students, conducted in collaboration with Just Space, the event involved the presentation of four inclusive social impact assessment tools, each grounded in the current struggles of a community group or collective.

Read more on the DPU web site here

Understanding local economies

November 4, 2017

An issue of growing concern for London communities is the rent and displacement pressure on jobs caused by rampant land price escalation for speculative housing development. Industrial estates, workshops, shops and high street premises of all kinds are being converted to housing at speed. Businesses and non-profit activities face dwindling space availability, rising rents and often such short insecure leases that they can’t invest in equipment confidently.  It’s become clear to Just Space that neither the GLA nor the London Boroughs have a real grasp of the detailed economic workings of the city outside of the centre and a few key sectors.  UCL has been supporting Just Space in its work on this and two new bodies of research have now appeared:

An entire class of students in the School of Planning Masters module benvgPD3 From Strategic Vision to Spatial Plan undertook meticulous studies of economic activities in large blocks of north London, between Dagenham in the East, through Ilford and Romford to Southall in the west.  The project was taught by Elena Besussi, Pablo Sendra and Michael North. The student reports are now available on Google Drive (copyright of the authors) at

In parallel, and with some connection, Jessica Ferm, Michael Edwards and Ed Jones did a small research project, surveying, evaluating and making recommendations about the methodologies used in local economic studies by community groups, local business groups, boroughs and GLA. This was supported by a grant from UCL’s “London 2034” fund administered by the Vice Provost for London. The summary press release from the project and the full report are both now available. Revealing local economies in London: methodological challenges, future directions, Download eprint

2017/18 opportunities for students

October 7, 2017
Collaborative work with community groups on London planning issues

The School of Planning has played a pioneering role in collaboration with community, activist and similar organisations in London, at all scales from small neighbourhoods to London-wide campaigns and federations.

This is all enabled through a partnership with which is a unique mutual-support network of community organisations committed to helping more Londoners –especially in working class and excluded communities– to participate in planning processes and have more influence on policy.

There is a report of the last few years’ activity here.

Read the rest of this entry »

Activity in 2016/17

September 28, 2017

Here is a report on activity in the last year or so.  It is a draft and we invite participants in the activities to contribute comments, illustrations and links for an enriched edition.

The report summarises a large number of projects and outputs, concluding:

We are particularly pleased that

  1. This activity is becoming mainstream within the Bartlett School of Planning – no longer confined to individual, self-selecting, students opting to do such activity as extra-curricular pursuits but a core (i.e. compulsory) dimension in many postgraduate programmes and now also in undergraduate education. This mainstreaming is what “Public Engagement” always aimed at.
  2. It has become infectious. Just Space is actively engaged now in collaborations with the Bartlett DPU and UCL Geography and plays a central role as “client” in the innovative Engineering Exchange. Similar work is going on at Cass Cities and at LSE (RUPS).

Download the report (as a Word document) UCL colllaboration with community groups

Land value capture

September 9, 2017

2017: One of the groups of students in the UCL masters module Community Participation and City Strategies prepared a report Opportunity For Whom? How Communities Engage With Land Value Capture in Opportunity Areas The report can be downloaded here LVC_Group_Report 2017

The authors are Amy Curtis, Jessica Cargill ompson, Lidija Honegger, George Ka a, Wenlin Liu, Alessia Montero, David Mountain, Johanna Salmi and Naomi Seow. Tutorial support was by Jennifer Robinson and Joe Penney. Many Just Space member groups contributed views and experiences.

opportunities 2016-7

September 30, 2016

Note change of venue on Wednesday below

As in past years, there are opportunities for students to undertake activity with community organisations in London at various geographic scales. This is additional to, and separate from, the project work with community groups which form the basis of Masters Modules in the Bartlett School of Planning (BENVGPLD and BENVGPD3), a joint module between Planning and Urban Studies (URBNG007) and others in the DPU and Engineering.

The contribution of JustSpace members and groups to these collaborations is supported financially by the School of Planning; Michael Edwards is the staff member responsible for overall coordination.

If you think you might want to offer some time as an individual (i.e. not as part of one of the named modules) please try to come to one of the following briefing meetings, one an afternoon event and the other after the end of classes in the evening.

Tuesday 11 October 1815-2015h in Central House room G01.
Wednesday 12 October 1430-1600h in room LG04 at 26 Bedford Way – UCL Geography Department. This is a change of venue and time.

Anyone thinking of engaging with community groups in their university studies or research should first familiarise themselves with the Just Space Protocol which is full of good advice on how to avoid the pitfalls and ill-feeling which can arise if you get it wrong, and how to get the best from these collaborations by doing it right. Read online or download here.

New London Plan

September 30, 2016

As the new Mayor and his political and professional team work on a new London Plan, Just Space has sent them the document Towards a community-led Plan for London: policy directions and proposals. This 75 page document is the product of more than a year of work by local and city-wide community and activist groups which have met in working parties and 3 big conferences. The work of numerous UCL student groups and staff have supported and informed many aspects of the evidence in the document. It is available as a free download here.


Also on the web site are earlier documents and conference reports including a lot of video recording of workshops and debates.

April 28 2016 conference

April 11, 2016

Just Space has been working for 9 months towards producing a Community-led Plan for London, or at least key elements of it, to be ready in the early weeks of the new Mayor and Assembly.

Very good progress was made following discussions at community conferences in July 2015 and on 4 February this year. Now, there will be a further conference at UCL on Thursday 28 April to bring together community groups, students and academics with the following aims:

  1. To share the results of the February conference workshops
  2. To discuss further work that has been done on the Private Rented Sector, Opportunity Areas, Participation and Inclusion.
  1. To focus on the following key economic issues:
    – Policies to support balanced economic development between London and other regions
    – Policies to support a green economy
    – The economic evidence base: an analysis of meetings between Just Space Economy and Planning group (JSEP) and GLA Economics
  1. To mobilise further academic support for the final stages of the work which needs to be completed during May.
  1. To reflect further on the potential of University students and staff to support community based policy development at a London wide level.

The conference will take place in London WC1 and be free of charge. It is, however, essential to reserve a place here on Eventbrite or if you can’t do that by email to Sue Ansarie who is helping with the organisation.

More details will be added on during April. Meanwhile, the tabloid publication produced for the previous conference plus write-ups of workshops and videos of sessions are all available here. This will be specially valuable for those who could not attend in February and want to get up to speed.

Volunteering opportunities autumn 2015

October 9, 2015

As in previous years, there are opportunities for UCL students to work with and for community and activist groups on London planning this year. The School of Planning is working with the Just Space network to set up and support the opportunities. Two meetings are about to take place at which these will be outlined and relationships set up. There is one evening and one afternoon meeting so that more students can fit one in to their timetables. Come to whichever is more convenient.

These are opportunities to work voluntarily, outside your formal course, so you should take care not to shoulder responsibilities which are unrealistically heavy. Students in two MSc programmes —Spatial Planning and Urban Design and City Planning— will ALL be doing work of this sort with community groups and neighbourhood forums starting in January so should probably not also take on these volunteer rôles.

To find out more about what has been done by past students in supporting community groups, browse the rest of this site. An updated pamphlet will be available any day.

The meetings well be: Monday 12th October 1700h-1900h and Wednesday 14th October 1400h-1600h, both in Roberts Building room 110. This is the new Engineering building opposite Waterstones bookshop on Torrington Place. No booking necessary. If you are unable to come to either meeting and want to find out more, contact