Bernardo Lopes


University of Kent
Award year: 2018
Thesis title: Collaborative Urban Spaces: An investigation of public spaces, conflictual collaboration and public participation as a way to develop durable and resilient urban places.

Abstract Collaboration promotes the interaction among identifiable groups and individuals within different areas of expertise in order to solve problems. What makes it an interesting time to research such initiatives in relation to the urban environment is the possibility of an amplified reach in participation enabled by networked technologies and the Internet. It is predicted that by 2050 the planet will have almost 10 billion people, of which two thirds will live in cities (United Nations, 2015). More them 50% of the world’s population already is urban and public spaces are considered an essential component to the wellbeing of its inhabitants, but the influence of corporate interests into the urban planning realm has created a standardization of such spaces in recent years. It is crucial to explore alternative and socially durable models of planning our cities. The research will investigate transformations in public spaces in the last three Olympic host cities, Rio de Janeiro, London and Beijing as the games act as a catalyst for major urban renewal projects. The sequence of such diverse locations will allow for a multipolar understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of large, recently developed urban areas. The research will explore Chantal Mouffe's concept of "agonistic pluralism" as well as Conflict Transformation theory in opposition to models based on deliberate democracy, as a strategy to generate positive outcomes out of conflictual decision-making processes. These findings will be used to propose a framework of policies to be implemented by authorities in the planning and designing of durable and resilient urban spaces.

Supervised by: Professor Gordana Fontana-Giusti and Dr Iain MacKenzie

Research interests

Public space; privatization; collaborative intelligence; collaboration; participation; urban; resilience; public-private partnership; urban policy; urban governance; placemaking

About me

I am an Architect and Researcher based in London who has worked on the design of buildings, furniture, objects, developing brand concepts and art exhibitions. Throughout my career I have maintained a close connection with academia, at times teaching, acting as a guest critic or giving lectures.

I believe the diverse and inquisitive aspects of my profile as a professional and an academic allow me to look at problems from different angles while striving for innovative solutions. I am passionate about developing collaborations and working between the design and executive aspects of a creative practice.

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