Dictating to the Estate, a documentary play

Date and time
Monday 6 June 2022. Play from 7.30 pm with panel discussion from 9.15 pm.

Maxilla Social Club, 2 Maxilla Walk, London, W10 6SW (the nearest tube is Latimer Road)

Dictating to the Estate, a documentary play

The Urban Salon is delighted to be hosting a face to face eventa documentary play Dictating to the Estate by Nathaniel McBride, directed by Lisa Goldman and Natasha Langridge, followed by a panel discussion with Pete Apps, Inside Housing; Loretta Lees, co-organiser of the Urban Salon and outgoing Chair of the London Housing Panel; and Liam Ross, Edinburgh School of Art.

Dictating to the Estate is a documentary play about events leading up to the Grenfell Tower fire. Using emails, blogs and council minutes, it tells the story of the refurbishment of the tower and the residents’ attempts to hold the council to account. At the same time, it places these events in a wider context of austerity, deregulation and estate regeneration.’

Tickets for the event are available at: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/whats-on/2a-maxilla-walk/maxilla-social-club/dictating-to-the-estate/e-rxzyjz

The tickets are £15 each, £7.50 concessions.

This event will also be a chance to say goodbye to Loretta who moves to Boston University in the US in late June, but will remain a co-organiser of the Urban Salon.



Book launch: Defensible Space on the Move – Loretta Lees and Elanor Warwick

Date and time
Tuesday 19th May 2022
7-9 pm (British Summer Time)

Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), 1 Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AR, United Kingdom

Book launch: Defensible Space on the Move – Loretta Lees and Elanor Warwick

Direct link for registration: https://www.rgs.org/events/summer-2022/book-launch-defensible-space-on-the-move/


Please join us in our next event for the launch of the latest book in the RGS-IBG Book Series: Defensible Space on the Move, by Loretta Lees and Elanor Warwick.

The event will include reflections on the book from the authors and experts in the field of housing policy and design.

A drinks reception will follow.


Book Description

Both theoretically informed and empirically rich, Defensible Space makes an important conceptual contribution to policy mobilities thinking, to policy and practice, and also to practitioners handling of complex spatial concepts.

  • Critically examines the geographical concept Defensible Space, which has been influential in designing out crime to date, and has been applied to housing estates in the UK, North America, Europe and beyond
  • Evaluates the movement/mobility/mobilisation of defensible space from the US to the UK and into English housing policy and practice
  • Explores the multiple ways the concept of defensible space was interpreted and implemented, as it circulated from national to local level and within particular English housing estates 
  • Critiquing and pushing forwards work on policy mobilities, the authors illustrate for the first time how transfer mechanisms worked at both a policy and practitioner level
  • Drawing on extensive archival research, oral histories and in-depth interviews, this important book reveals defensible space to be ambiguous, uncertain in nature, neither proven or disproven scientifically


About the Authors

Loretta Lees is an urban geographer who is internationally known for her research on gentrification/urban regeneration, global urbanism, urban policy, urban public space, critical geographies of architecture, and urban social theory. She has been identified as the only woman in the top 20 most referenced authors in urban geography worldwide (Urban Studies, 2017). Since 2009 she has co-organised The Urban Salon: A London Forum for Architecture, Cities and International Urbanism. She is also a Scholar-Activist who supports, and co-produces research with, community groups and social movements, most recently with respect to the demolition of council estates in London. She is the current Chair of the London Housing Panel funded by the GLA and Trust for London; and the incoming Director of the Initiative on Cities at Boston University, USA.

Elanor Warwick worked as an architect and urban designer before focusing on built environment research, particularly design quality and the delivery of good, affordable housing and places. As Head of Research at CABE (Commission for Architecture and Built Environment), she delivered research to shape the policy for a wide range of Central Government Departments (MHCLG, DfE, HO, and the Treasury) and the Greater London Authority. She now works within the social housing sector leading the research and policy team at Clarion Housing Group, England’s largest housing association, whilst continuing to teach and supervise postgraduate students at UCL and Cambridge Universities.


Roundtable: Living heritage and urban informalities: perspectives from Southeast Asian cities

Date and time
Monday 6th December 2021
12.30 – 2 pm (GMT); 7.30 – 9 pm (Bangkok)


Roundtable: Living heritage and urban informalities: perspectives from Southeast Asian cities


Marina Kolovou Kouri (Urban Designer and Researcher, Bartlett Development Planning Unit, UCL, U.K.)

Elizabeth Rhoads (Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Lund University, Sweden)

Jayde Roberts (Senior Lecturer, UNSW, Australia; SEAC Visiting Fellow)

Sri Suryani (PhD student, Sheffield University, U.K.)

Supitcha Tovivich (Lecturer, Silpakorn University, Thailand)


Catalina Ortiz (Associate Professor, Bartlett Development Planning Unit, UCL, U.K.; SEAC Associate)


Hyun Bang Shin (Professor of Geography and Urban Studies, LSE, U.K.; Director, LSE SEAC)

The Urban Salon is delighted to host a roundtable discussion together with the Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre (LSE SEAC) at the London School of Economics and Political Science and Bartlett Development Planning Unit at the UCL on community practice and heritage featuring the voices of researchers working on Southeast Asia.

Heritage making has often focused on the built form, at the expense of leaving out intangible heritage and everyday life of communities. Living heritage is a concept that enables to rethinking of urban futures based on multiple temporal trajectories and alternative epistemologies of what gets valued in the city and whose spatial practices are legitimized. In exploring living heritage in South East Asian cities we bring together diverse researchers reframing the understanding of it as a process grounded in the everyday practices of communities and as a strategy to gain political leverage to combatting spatial and epistemic violence.

Biographies of Participants

Marina Kolovou Kouri is an urban designer and researcher working on community-led development with a focus on Myanmar. She has been collaborating with grassroots organizations in Yangon, coordinating and/or participating in projects around urban safety, housing, informality, and displacement. She is part of the research team in the ongoing project “Yangon Stories: Framing Living Heritage as Tool to Prevent Spatial Violence,” led by the Development Planning Unit.

Elizabeth Rhoads is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Human Rights in Southeast Asia, splitting time between the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies and the Centre for Human Rights Studies at Lund University.

Jayde Roberts (@JaydeThissa) is a senior lecturer in the School of Built Environment at UNSW Sydney and an interdisciplinary scholar of Urban Studies and Southeast Asian Studies. Her research in Myanmar focuses on urban informality, heritage-making, and the effects of transnational networks. During her 2016-2018 Fulbright US Scholar term, she worked with Myanmar’s universities and municipal departments to investigate discourses of urban development in Yangon. Her book, Mapping Chinese Rangoon: Place and Nation among the Sino-Burmese, was published by University of Washington Press in 2016.

Sri Suryani is a PhD student at the University of Sheffield investigating the displacement process of riverbank settlements by flood-risk mitigation policy in Jakarta, Indonesia. Her research aims to understand the social process in displacements, differentiated water infrastructures, and the temporality of spatial politics.

Supitcha Tovivich is a full-time Lecturer at the Faculty of Architecture, Silpakorn University. She was the Head of Department of Architecture (2015-2018). She received her Ph.D. from the Bartlett DPU, University College London, and her MA in Humanitarian and Development Practice, Oxford Brookes University. Her expertise is in participatory design, participatory community development, co-create city rehabilitation, community engagement, and urban design intervention. Her practice focuses on the integration of architectural education, community-based design studio, and tactical urbanism. She has been working with a number of local communities in Bangkok such as the Khlong Bang Luang community, which is an old canal-sided settlement, the 24-hours Bangkok Flower Market, and other communities in Bangkok Old City Area.

Catalina Ortiz (@cataortiza) is a Colombian urbanist. She uses critical pedagogies and decolonial methodologies to study the politics of space production in cities of the global south in order to find alternative ways to forge spatial-racial-epistemic justice. She currently works as Associate Professor and co-Programme Leader of the MSc Building and Urban Design in Development at University College London.  

Hyun Bang Shin (@urbancommune) is Professor of Geography and Urban Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science and directs the LSE Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre. He is Editor of the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, and is also a trustee of the Urban Studies Foundation.

Register here.

Image is a photograph of Singapore from Hyun Bang Shin.