Giulio Verdini

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Giulio Verdini is Reader at the School of Architecture and Cities of the University of Westminster and Course Leader of the BA Designing Cities: Planning and Architecture. He has spent six 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 and action-research, mainly focused on urban governance and sustainable local development. In particular he has published on urban-rural linkages, urban regeneration and community involvement, urbanisation in China. 

He regularly serves as scientific and policy advisor for UNESCO and other associated agencies (WHITRAP, based in Shanghai) for the 2011 HUL (Historic Urban Landscape) Recommendation, the topic of culture and rural-urban linkages, creative cities. 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); he is currently Visiting Scholar at XJTLU, in China.

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 and the UK. 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, he is the Course Leader of the BA Designing Cities: Architecture and Planning’, editing its related BLOG. His teaching area is in strategic spatial planning, planning theory and research, history of the urban form and urban design. 

RESEARCH AREAS

1. Culture, creativity and the historic built environment

He is currently engaged in research and policy advice on culture, creativity and sustainable local development. For this reason 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 speaker at the Second UNESCO Creative Cities Summit in Beijing (June 2016); invited foreign expert at the International Forum  on 'Small Settlements Conservation', organized by the People`s Government of Qiandongnan Prefecture, Guizhou Province (October 2016); invited expert at the event 'Culture Urban Future: UNESCO Urban Network on Culture', organised by UNESCO in Paris (January 2017); invited expert at the international meeting on the 'Implementation of the UNESCO HUL Recommendation' organised by WHITRAP in Shanghai (March, 2018); invited panelist at the XII Annual Meeting of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in Katowice, Poland (June 2018). 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 2019.

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, NGOs and renowned research institutes (see below). He co-chaired the Russel Group China Workshop on ‘Sustainable Cities in Suzhou (2015) and organized several seminars, symposiums and expert workshops on this topic. He 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.  

RESEARCH PROJECTS:

- Creative Towns in China (WHITRAP, 2018 - ongoing);

- Culture and Urban-Rural Linkages (UNESCO, 2016 - ongoing);

- Creative Towns - The case of Calabria (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);

- TESS, Intensive Programme in Territorial Empowerment and Social Sustainability (EU Lifelong Learning Programme, 2011/14);

- Chinese Clustering in Southern Europe (XJTLU Research Fund, 2010/12);

- LAPIS, Intensive Programme in Landscape Studies (EU Lifelong Learning Programme, 2009/11);

PhD SUPERVISION 

- Anna Yu Guo, Administrative restructuring as a strategy of urban governance in China: Motivations, processes and impacts, University of Liverpool (2014 - 2016, MPhil);

- Sabina Cioboata, Wellbeing and quality of life in the context of heritage-led regeneration in China, UoW (2017 - ongoing);

- Hocine Aouchal, Towards a management of HUL in Algeria, University of Annaba (2017 - ongoing, as Co-Director of studies);

 - Mengran Zhu, Culture-led urban regeneration in China - The case of Chengdu, UoW (2018 - ongoing);

- Matthew Priestman, Fluid City. The agency of architectural practice in understanding and shaping rapid urbanisation in China, UoW (2018 - ongoing, as Co-Director of Studies);

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, International Planning Studies. He regularly serves as Expert Evaluator for the Research Executive Agency of the European Commission (H2020).

AWARDS/SPECIAL MENTIONS

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.

2018

INTREPID Futures Initiative: The future of Academia and trans-disciplinary knowledge production in the urban field, 6th INTREPID Report (2018)
Verdini, G., Bina, O. and Cioboata, A. 2018. INTREPID Futures Initiative: The future of Academia and trans-disciplinary knowledge production in the urban field, 6th INTREPID Report. London COST ACTION TD1408.

2017

INTREPID Futures Initiative: Universities and Knowledge for Sustainable Urban Futures: as if inter and trans-disciplinarity mattered. 4th INTREPID REPORT (2017)
Bina, O., Verdini, G., Inch, A., Varanda, M., Guevara, M. and Chiles, P. 2017. INTREPID Futures Initiative: Universities and Knowledge for Sustainable Urban Futures: as if inter and trans-disciplinarity mattered. 4th INTREPID REPORT. COST ACTION TD1408.
Creative small settlements. Culture-based solutions for local sustainable development. (2017)
Verdini, G. and Ceccarelli, P. 2017. Creative small settlements. Culture-based solutions for local sustainable development. London University of Westminster.

2016

Preserving the historic landscape of a Chinese village: the case of Wujiang, Suzhou, China, in, The HUL Guidebook: Managing heritage in dynamic and constantly changing urban environments (2016)
Verdini, G., Re, A., Rogers, A.P., Veldpaus, L., Juma, M., Fayad, S. and Zhou, J. 2016. Preserving the historic landscape of a Chinese village: the case of Wujiang, Suzhou, China, in, The HUL Guidebook: Managing heritage in dynamic and constantly changing urban environments. Shanghai WHITRAP.

2018

Voices for alternative urban regeneration practices in China: the case of the historic district of Taohuawu (2018)
Verdini, G. and Yang, X. 2018. Voices for alternative urban regeneration practices in China: the case of the historic district of Taohuawu. in: Zhou, J. and van Oers, R. (ed.) Operationalising the Historic Urban Landscape – A practitioner’s view Shanghai Tongji University Press. pp. 189-211

2016

Culture as a tool for harmonious territorial development (2016)
Verdini, G. 2016. Culture as a tool for harmonious territorial development. in: Culture: Urban Future. Global Report on Culture for Sustainable Urban Development Paris UNESCO. pp. 212-219
Conclusion (2016)
Verdini, G. 2016. Conclusion. in: Verdini, G., Wang, Y. and Zhang, X. (ed.) Urban China's rural fringe London and New York Routledge. pp. 199-200
The rural fringe in China: existing conflicts and prospective urban-rural synergies (2016)
Verdini, G. 2016. The rural fringe in China: existing conflicts and prospective urban-rural synergies. in: Verdini, G., Wang, Y. and Zhang, X. (ed.) Urban China's Rural Fringe: Actors, dimensions and management challenges London-New York Routledge. pp. 1-15

2015

Assessing local food systems in China for building healthy mega-cities (2015)
Verdini, G. 2015. Assessing local food systems in China for building healthy mega-cities. in: Better planning, healthier cities Suzhou Soochow University Press. pp. 264-276

2011

Rise, fragmentation, infringement and fear: emerging urban issues in Chinese clustering in Italy (2011)
Verdini, G. 2011. Rise, fragmentation, infringement and fear: emerging urban issues in Chinese clustering in Italy. in: Gonzalez Brun, A., Low, B., Rosemann, J. and Widodo, J. (ed.) Global visions: risks and opportunities for the urban planet Centre for Advanced Studies in Architecture, National University of Singapore CASA. pp. 245-256

2009

Il progetto di territorio per la grande regione del Delta del Po (2009)
Leder, F. and Verdini, G. 2009. Il progetto di territorio per la grande regione del Delta del Po. in: Leder, F. (ed.) Paesaggi in Piano. Contributi al progetto per un territorio rurale sostenibile Bologna Compositori Editori.
Dalla governance delle aree rurali alla costruzione di progetti di paesaggio (2009)
Verdini, G. 2009. Dalla governance delle aree rurali alla costruzione di progetti di paesaggio. in: Leder, F. (ed.) Paesaggi in Piano. Contributi al progetto per un territorio rurale sostenibile Bologna Compositori Editori. pp. 45-52

2017

Reframing China’s heritage conservation discourse. Learning by testing civic engagement tools in a historic rural village (2017)
Verdini, G., Frassoldati, F. and Nolf, C, 2017. Reframing China’s heritage conservation discourse. Learning by testing civic engagement tools in a historic rural village. International Journal of Heritage Studies. 23 (4), pp. 317-334.
La maniera di Suzhou: innovazione urbana e continuità urbano-rurale (2017)
Verdini, G. and Huang, F. 2017. La maniera di Suzhou: innovazione urbana e continuità urbano-rurale. Urbanistica Informazioni. XXXXIV (272), pp. 67-75.
Book Review: Understanding China's Urbanization: The Great Demographic, Spatial, Economic, and Social Transformation (2017)
Verdini, G. 2017. Book Review: Understanding China's Urbanization: The Great Demographic, Spatial, Economic, and Social Transformation. Journal of Urban Regeneration and Renewal. 11 (1), pp. 106-108.
Planetary Urbanisation and the Built Heritage from a Non-Western Perspective: The Question of 'How' We Should Protect the Past (2017)
Verdini, G. 2017. Planetary Urbanisation and the Built Heritage from a Non-Western Perspective: The Question of 'How' We Should Protect the Past. Built Heritage. 1 (3), pp. 73-82.
Opposition and resistance: Governance challenges around urban growth in China and the UK (2017)
Sturzaker, J. and Verdini, G. 2017. Opposition and resistance: Governance challenges around urban growth in China and the UK. Journal of Urban Management. 6 (1), pp. 30-41.

2016

Is effective city-regional governance viable in the next urbanisation campaign of China? (2016)
Verdini, G. 2016. Is effective city-regional governance viable in the next urbanisation campaign of China? China Policy Review. 2016 (4), pp. 95-97.

2015

Is the incipient Chinese civil society playing a role in regenerating historic urban areas? Evidence from Nanjing, Suzhou and Shanghai (2015)
Verdini, G. 2015. Is the incipient Chinese civil society playing a role in regenerating historic urban areas? Evidence from Nanjing, Suzhou and Shanghai. Habitat International. 50, pp. 366-372.
The role of geographical proximity in the establishment and development of science parks – evidence from Nanjing, China (2015)
Guo, Y. and Verdini, G. 2015. The role of geographical proximity in the establishment and development of science parks – evidence from Nanjing, China. Asian Geographer. 32 (2), pp. 117-133.
Clichy-Batignolles, Paris: a case of successful inner-city regeneration (2015)
Verdini, G. 2015. Clichy-Batignolles, Paris: a case of successful inner-city regeneration. World Architecture. 306 (12), pp. 124-127.

2014

The costs of urban growth at the fringe of a Chinese city: evidence from Jinshi Village in Suzhou (2014)
Verdini, G. 2014. The costs of urban growth at the fringe of a Chinese city: evidence from Jinshi Village in Suzhou. International Development Planning Review. 36 (4), pp. 413-434.
Orizzonte Cina: le sfide dell’urbanizzazione al 2020 (2014)
Verdini, G. 2014. Orizzonte Cina: le sfide dell’urbanizzazione al 2020. Archivio di Studi Urbani e Regionali. XLV (111), pp. 156-163.

2010

Cohousing di pianura. Ripensare l’abitare in chiave solidale e a zero consumo di suolo (2010)
Leder, F., Verdini, G. and Durante, C. 2010. Cohousing di pianura. Ripensare l’abitare in chiave solidale e a zero consumo di suolo. Territorio. 52, pp. 68-72.

2016

Urban China's Rural Fringe: Actors, dimensions and management challenges (2016)
Verdini, G., Wang, Y. and Zhang, X. 2016. Urban China's Rural Fringe: Actors, dimensions and management challenges. London-New York Routledge.

2016

Enabling Sustainable Economies in Marginal Areas: the Problem of Measuring Culture and Creativity (2016)
Verdini, G. 2016. Enabling Sustainable Economies in Marginal Areas: the Problem of Measuring Culture and Creativity. Second UNESCO Creative Cities Beijing Summit. Beijing 06 - 08 Jun 2016

2015

Training and action-research for sustainable rural fringe development in urban China: achievements and limitations (2015)
Verdini, G. 2015. Training and action-research for sustainable rural fringe development in urban China: achievements and limitations. 7th International AESOP Sustainable Food Planning Conference . Turin 08 - 09 Oct 2015

2014

Urban Administrative Restructuring as a New Urbanization Strategy: A Case Study of Bengbu City, Anhui Province (2014)
Guo, Y. and Verdini, G. 2014. Urban Administrative Restructuring as a New Urbanization Strategy: A Case Study of Bengbu City, Anhui Province. County Territory & Development under the New Urbanization Perspective. Nanjing (China) 28 - 30 Nov 2014

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