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 Juan Usubillaga

Juan Usubillaga

Research Assistant

+44 (0)29 2087 4431
T07, Bute Building, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3NB

I am a Colombian Urban Designer and Researcher currently doing a PhD. on Political Activism and Urban Design. I hold a B.A. (Hons) Architecture from Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá) and a M.Sc. Building and Urban Design in Development from UCL (London). 

My project and research experience spans across different countries including Colombia, UK, Germany, US and Myanmar, and various issues related to activism, informality, housing, humanitarian action and refugee integration. 

At the moment, I am working on two research projects with professor Aseem Inam at the Welsh School of Architecture: one about Las Vegas and another one on Informal Urbanisms. I am also a studio tutor at the MA Urban Design.

I speak English, Spanish, German and I'm currently learning Welsh and Catalan.

Work Experience

  • 2017-Present: Research Assistant, Cardiff University (Cardiff)
  • 2017: Urban Response Intern, ALNAP (London)
  • 2015-2016: Research and Project Assistant, Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá)
  • 2011-2014: Teaching Assistant, Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá)


  • 2019-Present: Ph.D. in Architecture (Cardiff University)
  • 2016-2017 M.Sc. Building and Urban Design in Development, University College London (London) 
  • 2010-2015 B.A. (Hons) Architecture, Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá)

Honours and awards

  • Dissertation Fellowship, Save The Children UK & University College London (2017)
  • Colfuturo-UCL Masters Scholarship, Foundation for the Future of Colombia - Colfuturo (2016)
  • Santander Masters Scholarship, University College London (2016)
  • Magna Cum Laude Distinction, Universidad de los Andes (2015)
  • Academic Distinction, Colombian Society of Architects (2015)
  • Ramón de Zubiría Distinction, Universidad de los Andes (2013)
  • Third Place, Architectural Design Contest, Cure MMDG Architects & Universidad de los Andes (2012)

Professional memberships

  • Member of the Colombian Society of Architects



I am currently a tutor at the MA Urban Design in the following modules:

  • MAUD Autumn Studio
  • MAUD Spring Studio
  • MAUD Research-based Design Project [I supervise 5 MA theses]

Research interests

Broadly speaking, my research interests lie at the intersections between urban space and politics. Within this realm, I am particularly interested in the following:

  • Radical politics and urbanism
  • Political activism in cities
  • Bottom-up social housing strategies/projects
  • Urban informality
  • Humanitarian response in cities