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Leonardo Ricaurte

Areas of interest

  • Housing design
  • Regeneration
  • Social value
  • Post-occupancy evaluation

Postgraduate supervision

Dr Stephen Gage

Prof. Lorraine Farrelly – University of York

Jean-Christophe Dissart - Université Grenoble Alpes

Research centres and groups

Urban Living Research Group

Research projects

Design that expands capabilities: Assessing the social value of the housing block.

This research aims to illuminate the concept of the social value of housing and the comprehension of its impact on people's lives. A strand of research that has yet to be addressed in social value scholarship. Amidst prevailing narratives that hastily attributed social issues to design flaws and equated housing estates with crime-ridden neighbourhoods and squalor, I delve into the implications of design and the evaluation of its effects from a human-centred standpoint. By examining the spatial dynamics of housing and the social consequences associated with the use of space, I offer an alternative perspective to enrich the discourse on this matter. This thesis is contextualised on the introduction of social impact measurement policies and tools, e.g. the Social Value Act in England and Wales and ESG criteria. Focusing on the role of social housing providers and the impact they can create, this thesis proposes Amartya Sen’s capability approach and the pivotal role of housing as a conversion factor that enables residents to live a life they value and flourish.

This research is part of the RE-DWELL project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie SkÅ‚odowska-Curie (MSCA-ITN) grant agreement No 956082


Leonardo holds a Bachelor's degree in Architecture from the National University of Colombia. He has experience in design, regulatory coordination and construction site supervision of housing projects in Bogotá. He also holds a joint Erasmus Mundus Master’s degree in International Cooperation in Urban Development and Planning between the Technical University of Darmstadt in Germany and the University of Grenoble Alpes in France. He has gained experience in participatory design activities and co-creation sessions with communities in Colombia and Germany, participating in collective projects on capacity building, urban upgrading and grassroots movements at the interface between academic and professional scenarios.

He has also gained research experience in sustainable and affordable housing projects promoting participatory practices, the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda through an internship at the CRAterre research laboratory at the École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Grenoble. In 2020, he defended his Master's thesis entitled “Possibilities of participatory tools in the attainment of sustainable housing solutions: The case of Bogotá”, which was awarded a mention très bien by the jury. This research focused on the production of social housing in the context of international sustainability frameworks and the impact of market-driven housing systems, urban inequality and gentrification on the development of comprehensive policies and strategies.

Selected publications

  • Assessing social value in housing design: contributions of the capability approach

    Buildings and Cities

    2023-10-11 | Journal article

    DOI: 10.5334/bc.328

  • The array of things, Chicago

Urban Planning for Transitions

2021 | Book chapter

Part ofDOI: 10.1002/9781119821670.ch11


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