An international seminar
Seminar (6 credits – 48 hours)
Code: B020765
Feb. 20th-June 26th 2015

Prof. Giulio Giovannoni (principal organizer)
Prof. Silvia Ross, University College Cork (co-organizer)
Prof. Marco Cenzatti, UCBerkeley
Prof. Francesco Chiodelli, Gran Sasso Science Institute
Prof. Richard Ingersoll, Syracuse University
Prof. Medina Lasansky, Cornell University
Prof. Andrea Mecacci, University of Florence
Prof. Davide Papotti, Università di Parma



Urban space is the physical continuum on which human existence and social life unfold, with their complexities and contradictions, conflicts and fights, passions and needs. However, urban space is not a simple container for human and social life, neutral like an empty theatrical scene which waits to be used by actors and performers. Although inert and difficult to transform, urban space has a natural tendency to form an indistinguishable whole with the society which inhabits and shapes it. Social structures, as well as power relations, inhabiting cultures, and modes of production, are variously encoded in it. Spatial transformations signify social dynamics and changes which are often conflicting and contradictory. Urban planners and designers tend to ignore their controversial and problematic role, hiding themselves behind the supposed neutrality of technical expertise. This is one of the reasons why it is important to critically reconsider the notion of urban space from different disciplinary perspectives, in order to gain a better awareness of the many implications of urban design.

The seminar, organized by Giulio Giovannoni and Silvia Ross, is conceived as an opportunity for critical discussion on the topic of urban space from different disciplinary perspectives. It aims at aggregating scholars from disciplines ranging from urban design, literary studies, urban and architectural history, urban sociology, urban economics, and aesthetics. The seminar is intended to be an open project to be further developed in the future.


The “Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives on Urban Space” seminar has three major goals:

  • To introduce students to cross-disciplinary research methods in the field of urban studies;
  • To develop critical awareness about the highly complex and problematic (political, social, economic, etc.) effects of architecture and urban design;
  • To acquire and practice research and writing skills.


Download Program (Pdf)