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UK

Nikolett Puskás

University College London: Institute for Global Prosperity; Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose

Above all, I am a passionate human being. I like to do things, not just talk about them.

I am an enthusiastic believer in bottom-up, grassroots initiatives for social inclusion and change, right to the city and right for environmental justice. I spend my ‘free time’ participating in co-creative initiatives, co-facilitating workshops and events for communities.

I have a BSc in Light Industrial Engineering, an MA in Sustainable Design and an MSc in Leadership for Global Sustainable Cities. After being disillusioned I left the fields of product design and making, and interior architecture, searching for deeper meaning. Since then I have been working as a researcher of urban spaces, focusing on creating sustainable and ecological environments via participatory approaches, renewable energy engineering and nature-based solutions. My ethos takes a holistic approach aiming at transformative and regenerative design for a more prosperous future.
Furthermore, I strongly believe in taking education to the streets and ‘other spaces’, breaking away from the historic, centralized and colonized establishments of learning and knowledge creation. We must collectively reimagine learning spaces and the realms of knowledge creation, if we are aiming for a more just and inclusive approach. This also has a special relevance to the landscape profession and I would like to ask the community: How does it make sense to teach and learn about landscapes and the environment in an artificial, sterile manner? (E.g. classic classroom setting). We need a multi-sensory experience to learn about nature and our built environment. We need to get out there.

I have been contributing author to several journals both in English and Hungarian, seeking to disseminate knowledge in a more inclusive and accessible manner.

Currently, I am writing up my PhD thesis on ‘Collaborative infrastructures for just, ecological and transformative urban design’. As part of my PhD, I’ve conducted participatory action research, and co-designed physical urban games in Budapest, Hungary and Beirut, Lebanon. Due to unforeseen events I’ve spent extended time in Lebanon, where my experiences transformed me on multiple levels – the country and its people will forever be in my heart. As a response to the Beirut blast, MOVE! Beirut was born (https://www.instagram.com/movebeirut/) – a project realised with a dear friend Rocky Kiblawi, which is also a testimony on possibilities to link one’s professional activities, and science up with personal hobbies and empirical research. I hope many such projects will follow in the future!

I am also research assistant to Professor Richard Sennett.