Who are Empathy Walks

Empathy Walks was originally imagined as a project and methodology by Leticia Sabino. Together with Sofia Mazzuco, Maria Ernanny, Debanil Pramanik, Julie Plichon and Sonia Baralic they started the project after having studied together at the Bartlett School of Planning, University College London. Recently we’ve welcomed our newest member, Kavita Tailor.

Leticia Sabino

Graduated at the Bartlett- UCL in MSc in Urban Design and City Planning in 2016, bacharel in Business Management. Founder of SampaPé! , 2012,  (which means São Paulo on foot) an NGO based in São Paulo, Brazil, that has been promoting walkability from two perspectives: i.motivating the citizens to walk through fun ways such as walking tours, playing out streets, etc. ii. advocating for better conditions for pedestrians in the city. Expertise in promoting walking tours to sensibilize people about different layers and perspectives that compose the city. Has recently volunteered at a Refugee Camp in Greece where once again the experience with other people has shown to be the best opportunity to generate empathy.

Sofia Croso Mazzuco

Sofia is a qualified architect and urbanist graduated in Brazil, with a degree from the Bartlett, MSc (Distinction) in Urban Design and City Planning. Her major project is about adapting the passive participatory planning model currently operating in the UK to an active proposition that empowers the deprived community of Gospel Oak (Camden) through a social economy based on the circus arts. She has extensively interacted with the community itself to come to a meaningful regeneration proposition which consider empirical knowledge. Sofia is mainly interested in the opportunities that public space offer to create empathy between citizens, and has worked throughout her career on varied public space regeneration projects. One of them, ‘Cambuci Interactive Staircase’, was selected to be showcased at the 10th Architecture Bienalle in São Paulo. She currently lives in London and is seeking her own ways to belonging to the city. She is also the founder of CUAC, Comuns Urbanos.

Julie Plichon

Julie Plichon has a background in Political Sciences, and graduated this year from the Bartlett School of Planning with an MSc (Distinction) in Urban Design and City Planning. In the coursework, she led ‘Jane Jacobs’ walks in Hammersmith, London, where participants were invited to use their senses to appreciate the neighbourhood. This experiment is designed to inform urban design by placing human scale and walkability at the core of the design process. Julie also has experience in engaging communities in London, as in 2016 she took part in the production of a weekly community market at St George’s Estate in Wapping. Her major research project in urban design received a distinction for producing an alternative typology for the disused open spaces in council estates, creating appropriation and meaningful places. Julie is also a planner at the London Borough of Islington, working for the planning policy and transport planning teams.

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Sonia Baralic

Sonia Baralic studied Human Geography in Manchester and Sweden, and recently graduated from the UCL Bartlett School of Planning with an MSc in Urban Design and City Planning, and a major research project which designed socio-economic processes to support the ‘physical regeneration’ of social housing for vulnerable communities. With a background in social enterprise and civic projects, she has founded community projects that tackle the parallel issues of food waste and food poverty, as well as coordinating community makerspaces and a food waste network in Brixton. Sonia is currently working within local government town centre regeneration, collaborating closely with local communities and civic initiatives in Loughborough Junction to design and deliver an affordable workspace and food business incubator scheme.


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Kavita Tailor

Kavita Tailor graduated with a degree in Human Geography at the LSE in 2014 where her dissertation explored the role of the suburb in providing a sense of home and belonging for the East African Asian diaspora in London. She has since qualified as an Associate RICS Project Manager and has worked in housing and regeneration on a breadth of projects from a variety of perspectives. 

Kavita also has a deep interest in social innovation. Through consulting with social enterprises in the UK and India, and working with a housing innovation agency, she has explored how user-centered design can shape our built environment and how social value can be created throughout supply chains. She is currently a Regeneration Project Manager at a London local authority. 

Debanil Pramanik

Qualified architect from India and recently graduated from the Bartlett – UCL in MSc in Urban Design and City Planning in 2016. Has worked at the multidisciplinary Busride studio in Mumbai (Jan 2013 – Jul 2015) on a range of architectural, urban research and public realm projects. During this time was integrally involved with the Bandra project which looked at pedestrian behaviour and understanding their response to the built environment within Bandra, a vibrant suburb of Mumbai.This was done by extensive mapping based on parameters such as green cover, building heights, builtforms with heritage value and co relating it with pedestrian routes frequently used by people.The collected data was shared periodically with the community in the form of open public exhibitions.This data also formed the basis to introduce wayfinding mechanisms, micro economy modules and public realm interventions within the suburb.

Maria Ernanny

Maria holds an MSc in Urban Design and City Planning from the Bartlett School of Planning, UCL. She is passionate about sharing economies, and currently works for the co-working start-up leader WeWork in Sao Paula, Brazil. Maria has been organising Jane Jacobs walks in London and is passionate about the intersections between politics, public policy, urban design and social affairs, with a love for building relationships.