Dr Giulia Testori


Giulia is a Research Fellow in the School of Civil Engineering in Critical Urban Studies. The project is founded by the British Academy and is entitled NOVel Approach for Vital Infrastructure post DisAster (NOVA VIDA). The project aim is the creation of new bottom-up community-led frameworks for cohabitation, with the potential to transform how post-disaster infrastructure is conceived and deployed. NOVA VIDA follows a multi-disciplinary approach combining qualitative and participative social sciences approaches and engineering tools. The case study are four towns of the Ecuadorian coast that are still strongly affected by the 2016 earthquake. The work is conducted under the supervision of Dr Ornella Iuorio and Dr Michael Janoschka, along with Dr Gustavo Duran at the Department of Public Affairs in FLACSO, Ecuador.

Prior to joining the University of Leeds, Giulia undertook PhD research at the University IUAV of Venice and KULeuven. She obtained two doctoral diplomas, one as Doctor of Engineering Science-Architecture from the KULeuven University in Belgium, and one as PhD in Architecture, City and Design (Curriculum in Urbanism) by IUAV University of Venice in Italy. The final mark was Excellent cum laude and she was entitled to the additional certificate of Doctor Europaeus. The aim of her doctoral thesis has been to challenge the way in which cities are planned and to focus towards a more inclusive approach. Taking Ecuador as case study, the thesis interchangeably looked to the country’s national institutional background (such as the 2008 Ecuadorian Constitution and National Plan), as well as at indigenous forms of space reproduction in the city of Quito. Key concepts on which she has focused on are collective city-making, autonomy and self-management in urban contexts and the role of participation in city planning. She has also given ample space to the formulation of a methodology of representation where the effects of actors, events and citizens’ involvement on space are in unison represented along time. In her doctoral thesis the use of scenario construction is finally seen as a powerful tool to open paths for innovative and inclusive urban futures. 

Giulia has also worked as Technical Urban Consultant at UN-Habitat Mexico and Cuba. Her duties were: to prepare and propose cartographic and statistical analysis with focus on their spatial representation; evaluate policies concerning territorial development; systematise quantitative and qualitative data; elaborate recommendations on topics concerning climate change, social inequalities and segregation reduction, green infrastructure and other relevant subjects.

Previously she undertook her postgraduate studies at the European Postgraduate Master in Urbanism held by IUAV, KULeuven, UPCBarcelona and TUDelft. She undertook her Master and Bachelor in Architecture at the University IUAV of Venice and she attended to two exhange programmes: Universidad de Granada, Spain (12 months); Universidad de Belgrano, Argentina (5 months).

Research interests

The exacerbated forms of urban exclusion in contemporary cities call for a renewed understanding of mechanisms and opportunities for urban inclusion. For her, questions of power, resource distribution, urban inequalities and spatial configuration are a highly inspiring ground of research. She strongly believes that the synergy between in-depth cultural and spatial analyses means a powerful scientific contribution to inclusive and culturally-embedded city planning. Moreover, a cross-disciplinary research that integrates technology, humanities, design and natural and social sciences is undoubtedly fundamental.


  • PhD (Engineering Science-Architecture)
  • PhD (Architecture, City and Design - Curriculum in Urbanism)
  • MArch UD (Urban Design)
  • March (Architecture)
  • BArch (Architecture)