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Georgia White

MPhil work

Popular Organisation Support in Urban Regeneration Processes: a new type of Design Platform

This work intends to explore and develop the potential capacity of Design Platforms (DPs), to support the demands of Popular Organisations (POs). Specifically, it will consider the positioning and form of DPs in the context of urban regeneration processes in emergent “global cities” (Sassen, 2001). It will do so through research and practice-led exploration.

Though many “developing economies” (Williams 2012) are joining world markets and growing rapidly (ATKearney 2014), a number of political and economic factors often restrict governments’ ability or will to respond to demand in housing and social infrastructures. These factors can include economic conditions created by donors (Sassen 2014), lack of funds, corruption or lack of institutional capacity. In such contexts, urban development and policy are heavily dependent on international donor organisations such as development banks, the IMF or the UN. However, the scale and opacity of operational structures in these organisations often prevent the adequate participation of communities, social movements or popular organisations in the planning and strategy of projects despite “participatory” design rhetoric (Mosse 2008).

Design NGO’s such as Habitat for Humanity or Architects Sans Frontiéres are recognised as having brought a more nuanced approach to international development organisations by working as community liaisons. However, even in organisations such as these, few proposals are initiated or developed from the start with POs. For this reason, the intermediary position of DPs can become a vehicle of disempowerment.

This research proposes to investigate a format of DP that could transcend the position of the intermediary or representative and work closely with POs, using design tools/propositions to bring their demands directly to policy makers, maintaining their input throughout processes of planning, design, and implementation. 

As a core element in this process therefore, I will use design propositions as a method of structuring popular demands and facilitating collaborations.   
It will explore the questions:

What type of design platform is required to capacitate popular organisations to influence and participate in urban development processes in contexts of international development?


What are the potential roles for design propositions as mechanisms for developing community responses and exploring processes of collaboration? 

MA work

LOT 17

The systems of finance, ownership, migration and proximities that affect the occupation patterns of the disparate squatters’ neighbourhoods of the Philippines, are not so much part of a singular legislative framework but an intricate web of political history that spans back to the end of the Second World War. These precarious neighbourhoods of various legal tenure face continuous threat of ‘relocation’ as large areas of land eventually marked for development, become active in economic speculation and eviction systems of various legitimacies are employed through the devolved powers of local governance.

This project attempts to address the complexities and contradictions surrounding the law in regards to the treatment of illegal settlers across Manila, that make it possible for land grabbing to infringe on human rights. It also attempts to address the physical manifestations of the various legalities of tenure and the implications of relocation on the lives of those supporting a large part of the working network in the inner city. By working to adjust legislation through  the act of collective design, this project proposes a newly configured mortgage programme for a system of urban upgrade that will disseminate through pedagogic systems already active in collective networks across the country. Through the collectivisation of the tenants in conjunction with the local government and other advocate groups for the purpose of collective design, this project attempts to demonstrate design as third party politics. In this way, design becomes a representative party, advocating for the rights of the dispossessed, minority factions of Manila’s severe economic imbalance.


  • Georgia White
  • MPhil


    School of Architecture


    Architecture Research, 2016–2021

  • MA Degree


    School of Architecture


    MA Architecture, 2016



  • Degrees

  • BA (Hons) Architecture, Part I, University of Brighton, 2011; MA Architecture, Part II, Royal College of Art
  • Experience

  • Intern in project management, research & urban data analysis, UN Human Settlements Program, Nairobi, Kenya 2018; Assistant coordination & Curation for RIBA accreditation submission, Royal College of Art, London, 2017; Junior architect, Brixton Benedict Associates, Manila, Philippines 2013–14; Freelance architectural designer, Manila, Philippines 2013–14; Lead architect/designer, North Star-Wild Borneo, Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia 2013; Architectural assistant, Amin Taha Architects, London, 2012–13; Architectural intern, Atelier Bow-wow, Tokyo, Japan, 2012; Architectural intern, 403 Architecture (dajiba), Hamamatsu, Japan, 2012; Graphic designer, Northstar Tours, Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, 2011
  • Exhibitions

  • Built Environment Trust/RCA Student Innovation Awards, The Building Centre, 2016
  • Awards

  • Helen Hamlyn/Scott Brownrigg Design Award for Inclusive Spaces, 2016; Helen Hamlyn Design Award for Creativity, 2016; Built Environment Trust/RCA Student Prize for Innovation, 2016
  • Conferences

  • Thesis, OIKONET Global Multidisciplinary Network on Housing Research and Learning 1st Postgraduate Workshop, Universitat Politècnica de València, 22-23 June 2017
  • Publications

  • 'Lot17', BE:Journal, Issue 1, 2016, 42-49; 'Manila's Tenements and the Humanitarian Impasse, e-flux architecture, Superhumanity Conversations, 2017