Dr Luz Navarro

Dr Luz Navarro

I am a Lecturer in Urban Planning and Architecture at the School of Architecture and Cities at the University of Westminster. I am the course leader of the BA Urban Planning and Design and a member of the Emerging Territories Research Group. I hold a PhD from the Welsh School of Architecture at Cardiff University and an MSc in Building and Urban Design in Development from The Bartlett Development Planning Unit at UCL.

With over 15 years of professional experience in the fields of Architecture and Planning in Spain and the UK, my teaching and research activities contribute to the debate on the ethics of spatial practices and have critically questioned the disciplinary boundaries of urban design. I have been a Unit Leader for the Spring Design Studio MAUD at Cardiff University and a Design Tutor at the March at the WSA. I have also been invited as a guest critic at the WSA, Reading, and The Bartlett Development Planning Unit. Additionally, I was a Research Associate at the Active Travel Academy where my research focused on issues of equity, inclusion, and representation in active travel projects and policies. Prior to joining the University of Westminster, I was a Senior Transport Planner at Islington BC.

The focus of my research revolves around issues of equity, inclusion, and representation in urban plans, policies, and projects, as well as the contested discourses emerging around urban regeneration and spatial transformations. I am particularly interested in the conflicting nature of the built environment and how it can be more inclusive towards vulnerable groups. My research approaches Urban Planning and Design from a multidimensional and dynamic perspective, recognising that design relates to a broad set of 'social' practices and actors who produce, use, imagine, and inhabit the space. It cannot be seen as a discipline solely related to the physical transformation of the built environment. My PhD explores how urban planning and design can facilitate the inclusion of those who are left outside the mainstream production of space and knowledge within the city. I focus on the case of El Cabanyal in Valencia, Spain. In particular, I examine the potential of dissensus as both a concept and a practice. This allows for contestation of hegemonic discourses and narratives in the context of urban regeneration in El Cabanyal. I also examine how these counter-hegemonic spatiotemporal sites, which I refer to as 'agonistic urbanisms', manifest. Through my research, I investigate the spatialisation of 'agonistic urbanisms' and their capacity to generate alternative practices of urban transformation. Additionally, I explore how these practices can facilitate the inclusion of political subjects who are currently marginalised in the mainstream production of space and knowledge within the city.

Furthermore, I have successfully secured grants from the UKRI Participatory Research fund and the Qinting Hogg Trust. These grants are for a research project that examines the emotional and psychological barriers to cycling experienced by BAME women in various urban environments. The main objective of this research is to understand how active travel initiatives can be more inclusive of groups that are typically excluded from the benefits of urban transformations, particularly BAME women. By doing so, we hope to achieve a demographic profile of cycling that reflects London's diverse population. The research project involved participatory research workshops. 

I have presented my research at numerous national and international conferences. These include the AESOP Thematic Group Public Spaces and Urban Cultures Conference in Naples (2023), The Many Faces of Migration: An Interdisciplinary Unconference at the University of Westminster (2021), RC21 in Leeds (2017), Contested Cities Conference in Madrid (2016), the Society for American City and Regional Planning History Conference (2015), the graduate workshop in Los Angeles, the New Urban Languages Conference in Delft (2015), and the Architecture of Alterity Symposium at the University of Edinburgh. I have also presented my research at the ATA Seminars and Urban Design London. In all instances, I have received consistently positive feedback on my presentations.

Sustainable Development Goals
In brief

Research areas

Spatial Justice, Inclusive urban regeneration, Agonistic planning and participation and Urban governance and dissensus

Supervision interests

Urban regeneration processes, Agonistic approaches to planning and urban design, Socio-spatial contestations to urban regeneration plans and processes and Post politics and consensus based urban governance