What is the Observatory On Cities and Urban Transformations?


Starting out with an analysis of the political, economic and social changes that have shaped the last few decades, this research strand examines the geography of the places we’ll inhabit in the future, with the aim of providing positive contributions towards the well-being of all citizens and of society’s progress on the one hand, and for improving quality of life and the regeneration and revitalisation of territories, combining development with sustainability. The themes on which it focuses its activities are: territorial development and cohesion, territorial governance measures for social justice and the ecological transition of cities and territories.

Scientific Committee


Massimo Bricocoli, Politecnico di Milano

Laura Saija, Università degli Studi di Catania

Alessandro Balducci, Politecnico di Milano

Stefano Boeri, Triennale,

Richard Sennett, University College of London

Salvatore Settis, Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa

Francesca Gelli, Università IUAV di Venezia

Marco Ranzato, Università Roma Tre

Joan Subirats, UAB Barcelona

Network (main players)


DASTU, Politecnico di Milano; Dipartimento Di Eccellenza Sul Tema Delle “Fragilità Territoriali” del DASTU, Politecnico di Milano; Università degli studi Roma Tre; Università degli studi di Catania; Regione Lombardia Forum Disuguaglianze e Diversità; Fondazione Cariplo; Lo Stato dei Luoghi; Sciences Po; Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona; URBINAT (Urban Innovative & Inclusive Nature); European Commission Directorate-General Regional and Urban Policy; Columbia University; UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose; Council of Urban Initiatives.

Some of the participants:


Ricky Burdett, London School of Economics

Richard Sennett, University College London

Saskia Sassen, Columbia University

Leilani Farha, THE SHIFT, Sheela Patel, SPARC India

Raquel Rolnik, Universidad de São Paulo

Ananya Roy, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs

Stefano Boeri, Triennale di Milano

Isabelle Anguelovski, Barcelona Lab for Urban Environmental Justice and Sustainability

Flagship activities in Italy


Atlas of cities

Tel Aviv, Istanbul, Dubai, Oslo, Maputo, Rotterdam, São Paulo, Naples, London, Tokyo, Ulaanbaatar, New York: a journey across twelve world cities, with international scholars, experts and artists, to depict the paradoxes generated by social and economic inequality, the social impact of labour transformations, informal economic and housing practices and the imbalances in the distribution and access to the cities’ resources. (2018/2019, 2020)


About a City

A review by Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli for rethinking the role of the city in the construction of more inclusive and democratic forms of citizenship, with the aim of building an open and interdisciplinary community discussion to examine solutions, ideas and projects for new forms of urban and territorial development: three editions, within the framework of Milano Arch Week, in association with the Polytechnic University of Milan and the Triennale.

Partecipants include: Alfredo Brillemburg, U-TT Caracas; Ash Amin, Cambridge University; Suketu Mehta, author; Jacques Herzog, Herzog & De Meuron; Emiliano Ponzi, illustrator and visual artist; Giovanni Allegretti, CES Universidad de Coimbra; Mimmo Lucano, ex-Mayor of Riace; Mauro Magatti, Università Cattolica; Ferruccio Resta, Politecnico di Milano; Charlie Peel, Urban Good.(2018, 2019, 2020)


Visible Cities

A journey through six cities in the world to discuss, as concretely as possible, those issues important for collective living: the right to a home and social housing, the right to work and a dignified life, the right to health and sustainability. The narratives from Vienna, Sao Paulo, Athens, Mumbai, Dhaka and Bogotà are an introduction to the complexities facing our cities and societies, but also an invitation to acknowledge the pervasiveness of various phenomena, despite the differences in contexts and continents. (2021)


FeltrinelliCamp. Broken Cities

A two-day workshop held by one hundred young researchers and practitioners, selected through a call at European level, to discuss the challenges, vulnerabilities and opportunities that our territories are facing from an ecological, social and economic point of view: the Camp seeks to contribute to rethinking models and practices of shared spaces, no longer fragmented, that are capable of including heterogeneous identities, promoting sustainable lifestyles and flourishing communities. (2021)

Flagship activities in Europe


Agenda Partecipata dei Territori

A project financed by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policies, within the framework of the call for the “Support for citizen engagement in the implementation of cohesion policy” proposal. A process for involvement and participation of under-40 citizens in Lombardy, with results submitted to the Lombardy Region as a contribution to the construction of the next ERDF Regional Operational Programme 2021-2027. (2021)


Urban Innovative & Inclusive Nature

A European project dealing with the dissemination and use of nature-based solutions as an urban planning strategy aimed at implementing the Healthy Corridor: a green infrastructure, with cultural and social objectives, that aims to mitigate the effects of climate change and improve the social well-being of the community. URBINAT is a network composed of 7 cities: 3 front-runner cities (Porto, Sofia and Nantes), implementing Healthy Corridors, and 4 follow up cities (Siena, Brussels, Nova Goriča and Høje-Taastrup).

Additional Partners: Ces, Centro Estudios Sociais Universidade de Coimbra; Research Centre in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources, Porto; Institut de Recherche en Sciences et Techniques de la Ville, Nantes; Universitet Po Architektura Stroitelstvo I Geodezija, Sofia; Università IULM, Libera Università di Lingue e Comunicazione, Milan; University of Antwerp, Antwerp; Danish Technological Institute, Taastrup; IKED, International Organization for Knowledge Economy and Enterprise Development; Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, Barcelona; Hochschule OWL, Ostwestfalen-Lippe.

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