Learning Across Boundaries (LABs)

London: City in Transition

May 2017

A Summer LAB led by Professor Jane M Jacobs

London has been a major human settlement for millennia: capital of the UK, a leading global city, and once the metropolitan heart of the British Empire. London is a city in constant transition and this LAB offers students the opportunity to see first-hand how London has changed as a city over time, in terms of its architecture, its governance and its social make-up. We will visit a number of key localities in London, some that reflect slow incremental urban growth and others that the result of grand urban plans. This LAB is suitable for students interested in cities and planning who love urban vitality and want to learn about architectures past and present.

DATES: Sunday, 7 May 2017 – Sunday, 14 May 2017 (Tentative)

PARTNER ORGANISATIONS: University College London (TBC)

OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This LAB will likely involve a co-pay of S$1500. Financial assistance and merit-based grants are available. Please come talk to CIPE about any concerns or needs you may have. We will work with every student to ensure that finances are not a burden if you wish to participate.

*Image Credit: Abercrombie Plan of London, with permission.


Application for this LAB is closed.



The LAB links specifically to the Urban Studies Major, but given that some of the themes relate to the global status of London and the culture industries and heritage in London, it also offers students content relevant to Global Affairs, Arts & Humanities and History.

Pragmatically, it also offers students an introduction to London and to University College London, where we have a study abroad agreement. The itinerary will seek to connect with that program where possible, and so build relations.



This LAB offers students an opportunity to experience a large global city and to see it through an historical and urban studies framework.

Students who join London: City in Transition will:

  • visit London, and within London a range of localities that illustrate urban transitions of various kinds: incremental growth, immigration-led change, sanitation and transport improvements, iconic architecture, mega-developments, gentrification, etc.
  • gain an introductory knowledge of architecture – typologies and styles and terminology.
  • gain an introductory knowledge of the planning history of London, including its governance through the guilds, the  Corporation of London, the Greater London Council and the Mayoral Office;
  • meet various city builders: architects, planners, activists and social entrepreneurs.

Students will be expected to prepare an installation and sharing to share on their experience showcasing their interpretation of plans, linking of historical and demographic materials to real contexts, reading the architecture style of buildings from built form.