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Giulio Verdini is Senior Lecturer in Planning at the University of Westminster, Course Leader of the BA Designing Cities and International Coordinator of the Department of Urban Planning and Transport. He has spent almost 6 years in China as Lecturer and then Associate Professor in Urban Planning and Design at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU). Founder Co-Director of the XJTLU Research Institute of Urbanisation (2013 – 2016), he has been actively involved in research, mainly focused on urban governance and sustainable local development. In particular he has published on urban-rural linkages, urban regeneration and community involvement with increasing attention to China and emerging countries. His passion for the historic built environment has materialized in the organization of international workshops for the sustainable management of rural villages in China (since 2012). He is currently UNESCO consultant for the topic of culture and rural-urban linkages.
Involved in the implementation of the UNESCO Recommendation on the ‘Historic Urban Landscape’, he serves as member of the International Advisory Board of WHITRAP, the World Heritage Institute of Training and Research in the Asia-Pacific Region, based in Shanghai. He is moreover one of the lead contributors of the UNESCO Global Report ‘Culture for Sustainable Urban Development’ (2016) and the Editor of the newly established Routledge Book Series ‘Planning, Heritage and Sustainability.
He was a visiting scholar at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociale, CNRS - Centre d'Etudes sur la Chine Moderne et Contemporaine in Paris (2013); a visiting research fellow of the Alfa Program, EU-Latin America Cooperation, at the Institute of Urban Theory, Universidad de la Republica in Uruguay (2005); and visiting lecturer at the EU Intensive Programme TESS, Territorial Empowerment and Social Sustainability, in Italy (2012-2014).
Over the years, Dr. Verdini has combined his research activities with planning consultancy in Europe and China. He graduated in Architecture and holds a Phd in Economics, Urban and Regional Development, from the University of Ferrara in Italy.
He has been involved in curriculum development of UG and PG programmes in urban planning and design in China. He served as Chair of the Learning and Teaching Committee of the Department of Urban Planning and Design, XJTLU, and Programme Director of the Master in Urban Planning, XJTLU. He occasionally teaches in capacity building programmes for practitioners in the field of urban conservation and management. At Westminster University, he is the Course Leader of the BA Designing Cities: Architecture and Planning’, editing its related BLOG. His teaching area is in urban planning, urban economics, planning theory, urban governance and studio-based urban (rural) planning and design projects.
1. Culture, creativity and the historic built environment
He is currently engaged in setting up an international research agenda on the cultural and creative potentials of small settlements. For this purpose he was: invited to moderate the Researchers' Forum at the UNESCO International Conference Culture for Sustainable Cities in Hangzhou (December 2015); the co-organiser of an International Seminar at Cité de l'architecture & du Patrimoine in Paris on the cultural dimension of urbanization (February 2016); invited speakers at the Second UNESCO Creative Cities Summit in Beijing (June 2016); invited speaker at the panel on 'Little towns, urban spaces, social communities, reimagined' NanoGagliato Conference in Calabria, Italy (July 2016); invited foreign expert and panelist at the International Forum on 'Small Settlements Conservation' - China Traditional Village Qiandongnan Summit', organized by the People`s Government of Qiandongnan Prefecture, Guizhou Province, in cooperation with WHITRAP Shanghai (October 2016); invited expert at the event 'Culture Urban Future: UNESCO Urban Network on Culture', organised by UNESCO in Paris (January 2017). This long-lasting commitment in this field of research has resulted in the appointment of Scientific Advisor for the forthcoming First International UNESCO Conference on 'Small settlements' to be held in China in 2018.
2. Sustainable urbanisation and Urban-rural linkages
He has been the recipient of competitive grants from the Suzhou Social Science and Philosophy Foundation and the Department of Education of the Jiangsu Province. His research has been also supported by local governments, international organisations and renowned research institutes (see below). He co-chaired the Russel Group China Workshop on ‘Sustainable Cities (2015) in Suzhou and organized several seminars, symposiums and expert workshops on this topic. He has just published an edited book for Routledge ‘Urban China’s Rural Fringe. Actors, dimensions and management challenges’ (2016).
3. Interdisciplinarity in Urban Studies
Due to his background both in architecture and planning, he has an overarching interest in interdisciplinarity in urban studies, which is reflected in his teaching approach. He is member of the International COST Action INTREPID, WG3 on 'Enabling interdisciplinary: To develop solutions that enable interdisciplinarity beyond structural, institutional and cultural barriers with a particular focus on urban-related practice.
- Culture and Urban-Rural Linkages (UNESCO, 2016 - ongoing);
- Creative Towns (NGO Accademia di Gagliato, 2016 - ongoing);
- Interdisciplinarity in Urban Studies - WG3 member (EU COST Action INTREPID, 2015 - ongoing);
- Bottom-up Rural Development China (Wujiang District, 2015);
- Intermediate Cities China (CODEV-EPFL, 2014/15);
- Urban Fringe Planning and Institutions (Jiangsu Department of Education, 2014/16);
- Local Food Systems (Suzhou Social Science Philosophy Foundation, 2012);
- Open-Space Non-Market Value (Suzhou Social Science Philosophy Foundation, 2011);
- Chinese Clustering in Southern Europe (XJTLU Research Fund, 2010/12);
- MPhil, 'Administrative restructuring as a strategy of urban governance in China: Motivations, processes and impacts', Anna Yu Guo (2016)
RESEARCH-RELATED PROFESSIONAL SERVICES
He has served as peer reviewer for: Architecture and Culture; Archivio Studio Urbani e Regionali; Cities; Journal of Place Management and Development; Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development; Journal of Rural Studies; Landscape Research; Metu Journal of the Faculty of Architecture; Territorio; Town Planning Review. He has served as Expert Evaluator for the Research Executive Agency of the European Commission (H2020).
Best paper award at the 5th International Forum on Urbanism (IFoU) in Singapore (2011) and Second Prize of Outstanding Research Paper Award, 8th Academic Conference on Social Science of Suzhou, China (2015). The participatory design workshop organised in Shuang Wan Cun, Wujiang District, has been shortlisted as finalist for the '2015 Asian Townscape Award' of UN-HABITAT, Asia and the Pacific Office, and later on selected as best practice of implementation of the UNESCO HUL Approach.