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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 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 principal investigator of the UNESCO Report 'Culture 2030 I Rural-Urban Development. China at a glance'. He is 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); Visiting Scholar at XJTLU, in China (2016-2019).

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. 



1. Culture, creativity and sustainable urban development 

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 International UNESCO Conference on 'Culture 2030 Rural-Urban Development' held in Meishan, China (June 2019).

2. 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.  


- 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 - 2019);

- Interdisciplinarity in Urban Studies - WG3 member (EU COST Action INTREPID, 2015 - 2019);

- 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);


- 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);


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).


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.


For details of all my research outputs, visit my WestminsterResearch profile.