Antonella Radicchi

Antonella Radicchi

Architect and Urbanist, PhD




Books and scientific treatises

  • Radicchi, A., Leo, G., Haklay, M., et al. (2023). Scaling up citizen science. Mutual learning exercise on citizen science initiatives: policy and practice. Fifth thematic report. Publications Office of the European Union, 2023, ISBN 978-92-76-61952-9, DOI 10.2777/52736
  •  Haklay, M., Gold, M., Huyse, T., Radicchi, A., et al. (2022). Introduction and overview of citizen science. Mutual learning exercise on citizen science initiatives: policy and practice. First topic report. Publications Office of the European Union, ISBN 978-92-76-46685-7, DOI 10.2777/29886
  • Arias, R., Haklay, M., Radicchi, A. (2022). Ensuring good practices and impacts. Mutual learning exercise on citizen science initiatives: policy and practice. Second thematic report. Publications Office of the European Union, ISBN 978-92-76-53246-0, DOI 10.2777/389967
  • Gold, M., Haklay, M., Arias, R., Radicchi, A., et al. (2022). Enabling environments and sustaining citizen science. Mutual learning exercise on citizen science initiatives: policy and practice. Fourth thematic report. Publications Office of the European Union, ISBN978-92-76-58863-4, DOI 10.2777/305248
  • Gold, M., Arias, R., Haklay, M., Radicchi, A., et al.(2023). Mutual learning exercise: citizen science initiatives: policy and practice: final report, Publications Office of the European Union, ISBN 978-92-68-00379-4, DOI 10.2777/988919
  • Radicchi, A. (2012). Sull’immagine sonora della città. (On the Sonic Image of the City). Florence: Firenze University Press. ISBN: 978-88-6655-295-6, e-ISBN: 978-88-6655-278-9 (open access)

Edited special issues of peer-reviewed scientific journals

Articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals 

Referred chapters in edited books

Chapters in edited books

  • Radicchi, A. (2019). “Hush City. From crowdsourced data to open source planning of quieter and healthier cities”, in Besters, M., Marrades Sempere, R., Kahne, J. (eds) OUR CITY? Countering Exclusion in Public Space, Placemaking Europe Publications, pp. 367-370. ISBN: 978-90-830089-0-5
  • Beccaria, C., Guerrucci, E., Radicchi, A. (2012). “Le Architetture del Made in Italy”, in Zevi, L. (ed) Le quattro stagioni. Architetture del Made in Italy da Adriano Olivetti alla New Economy. Naples: Electa Publisher, pp. 88-89. ISBN: 978-8837093228
  • Radicchi, A., Rojas, F. (2009). “Soundscapes Oltrarno”, in Frenchman, D., Mitchell, W. (eds) Technology, Livability and the Historic City. Future of Firenze. MIT Press, pp. 80-85. ISBN 978-0-9794774-3-0

Articles in professional practice journals

Articles in Conference Proceedings

  • Radicchi, A. & Henckel, D. (2021). “Planning artificial light at night for pedestrian visualdiversity in public spaces”. Proceedings of the international conference Shaping light for health and wellbeing in cities, 16-17 December 2021. 27. Radicchi, A. & Henckel, D. (2021). “Planning artificial light at night for pedestrian visualdiversity in public spaces”. Proceedings of the international conference Shaping light for health and wellbeing in cities, 16-17 December 2021. ISBN 9788854970823 – DOI 10.6092/UNIBO/AMSACTA/6863
  • Alberti, F. & Radicchi, A. (2021). “From the Neighbourhood Unit to the 15-Minute City. Past and Recent Urban Models for the Post-Covid Future”. Proceedings of Science and Technology, International Conference on Urban Planning and Architectural Design for Sustainable Development, Florence (IT), September 14-16 2021. ISSN (Print: 2537-0731, online: 2537-074X)
  • Radicchi, A. (2020). “Are POPS effective design and planning tools that can favour the creation of healthy, open spaces in contemporary cities? Notes from an empirical study in New York,” in Talia M. (ed), La città contemporanea: un gigante dai piedi d”argilla. Proceedings of the International Conference Urbanpromo XVI edizione Progetti per il Paese. Planum Publisher, Roma-Milano, pp. 340-346. ISBN 9788899237226 (open access)
  • Radicchi, A. (2020). “Passeggiate partecipate e tecnologia mobile citizen science. L’esperienza del processo partecipativo per la redazione del piano delle aree quiete di Berlino 2019-2023” (“Participatory walks and mobile citizen science technology. The experience of the participatory process for the Berlin Quiet Areas Plan 2019-2023”), Urbanistica Informazioni no. 289, Atti della XII Giornata internazionale di Studi INU/12° International INU Study Day “Benessere e/o salute? 90 anni di studi, politiche, piani / Welfare and/or Health? 90 Years of studies, policies and plans”, 18 December 2020 (written in Italian)
  • Hasegawa, Y., Lau, S-K., Radicchi, A. (2020). “Assessments of users’ living soundscapes in a tropical urban city exploring objective audio-visual components and subjective perceptions with the mobile application technology’. Proceedings of Internoise 2020 E-Congress, 23-26 August 2020, Seoul, South Korea.
  • Radicchi, A. (2019). “A soundscape study in New York. Reflections on the application of standardized methods to study everyday quiet areas.”, Proceedings of the 23rd International Congress on Acoustics 2019, 9-13 September 2019, Aachen (DE). ISBN: 978-3-939296-15-7 – ISSN: 2226-7808 and 2415-1599
  • Radicchi, A. (2019). “Is a Noisy City Sustainable?” in Beth, A. et al. (Eds.). Proceedings from EDRA 50: Sustainable urban environments. Brooklyn, NY: Environmental Design Research Association.
  • Radicchi, A. (2019). “Smart Citizens for Sound Cities”, INTER-NOISE and NOISE-CON Congress and Conference Proceedings, InterNoise19, 17-19 June 2019, Madrid, Spain, pages 2995-3992, pp. 3987-3992(6). ISSN 0736-2935
  • Radicchi, A. (2019). “Mobile applications for environmental noise and soundscape evaluation”, INTER-NOISE and NOISE-CON Congress and Conference Proceedings, InterNoise19, 17-19 June 2019, Madrid, Spain, pages 3993-4998, pp. 3993-4001(9). ISSN 0736-2935
  • Radicchi, A. (2019). “Untapping the potential of soundwalks as participatory methods for co-designing smart cities”, The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 146 (4), 2873-2873, 2019. DOI:
  • Radicchi, A. (2019). “An experimental soundscape study, combining binaural recordings, in-situ questionnaires and behavioral mapping”, The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 145, p. 1753. DOI:
  • Radicchi, A. (2018). “Everyday quiet areas. What they mean and how they can be integrated in city planning processes”, INTER-NOISE and NOISE-CON Congress and Conference Proceedings, InterNoise19, 26-29 August 2018, Chicago (USA), pages 2984 – 3995, pp. 3727-3735(9). ISSN 0736-2935
  • Radicchi, A. (2018). “From crowdsourced data to open source planning. The implementation of the Hush City app in Berlin”, INTER-NOISE and NOISE-CON Congress and Conference Proceedings, InterNoise19, 26-29 August 2018, Chicago (USA), pages 2984 – 3995, pp. 3747-3754(8). ISSN 0736-2935
  • Radicchi, A. (2018). “The use of mobile applications in soundscape research: open questions in standardization”, Proceedings of EURONOISE 2018, 27-31 May 2018, Crete (G), pp. 2471-2478. ISSN: 2226-5147
  • Radicchi, A. & Henckel, D. (2018). “Combined Sound- & Lightwalks. A perception-based method to analyze and evaluate the sonic and light environment of our cities at night”, Proceedings of EURONOISE 2018, 27-31 May 2018, Crete (G), pp. 2405-2410. ISSN: 2226-5147
  • Radicchi, A. & Vida Manzano, J. (2018). “Soundscape evaluation of urban social spaces. A comparative study: Berlin-Granada”, The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 144 (3), p. 1660. DOI:
  • Radicchi, A. (2017). “The HUSH CITY app. A new mobile application to crowdsource and assess “everyday quiet areas” in cities”, Invisible Places. Sound, Urbanism and the Sense of Place, Proceedings of the International Conference Invisible Places, São Miguel, Azores, pp. 511-528. e-ISBN: 978-989-746- 129-3
  • Radicchi, A. (2017). “Beyond the Noise: Open Source Soundscapes. A mixed methodology to analyse, evaluate and plan “everyday” quiet areas”, Proc. Mtgs. Acoust., 30, 040005. DOI:
  • Radicchi, A. (2017). “Quietness as a commons: Integrating soundscape in urban planning for the environmentally just city”, The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 142 (4), p. 2671. DOI:
  • Radicchi, A. (2013). “Emotional Geography and Soundscape Studies. Beyond the cognitive approach in (sound)mapping urban spaces”, in Morello E., Piga B. (eds) Envisioning Architecture: Design, Evaluation, Communication, Proceedings of the XI International Congress EAEA11 European Architectural Envisioning Association. Milan: Nuova Cultura Publisher, pp. 267-272. ISBN: 978-8868121365
  • Radicchi, A. (2012). “The Sonic Niche. A new design tool to enhance and create atmospheres through sounds in the contemporary city”, in Thibaud, J-P., Siret, D. (eds) Ambiances in Action / Ambiances en acte(s), Proceedings of the Second International Congress on Ambiances. Montreal: Ambiances International Network / Ambiances Reseau International, pp. 253-258. ISBN: 978-2952094832
  • Briani, M. & Radicchi, A. (2010). “Paesaggi sonori e deriva urbana” (“Soundscapes and city drifts”), Territori di ricerca. Ricerche di Territorio, Proceedings of the VIII National Conference of the Interdoctorate Network in Urban Design and Territorial Planning, Vol. II, pp. 80-97, Alinea Publisher. ISBN: 978-8860554734

Technical and research reports (internally referred)

  • Radicchi, A. (2023). Scaling up citizen science. Topic Five Thematic Report prepared for the European Commission Directorate-General for Research and Innovation. Publications Office of the European Union.
  • Radicchi, A. (2022). Scaling up citizen science. Topic Five Discussion Paper prepared for the European Commission Directorate-General for Research and Innovation. Publications Office of the European Union.
  • Radicchi, A. (2022). EU-Citizen.Science. The platform for sharing, initiating, and learning Citizen Science in Europe. Final Periodic Technical Report. Part B. Submitted to the European Commission Research Executive Agency.
  • Radicchi A., Fabó Cartas, C., Sanz, F., Camacho, P. (2021). Citizen Science for Policy Across Europe, MfN, Berlin, Germany. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.5820364
  • Radicchi A. (2020). Berlin Hush City Master Plan, Technical Report of the research project Hush City Mobile Lab, TU Berlin, Berlin, Germany. Submitted to the HEAD-Genuit Foundation.
  • Radicchi A. (2020). Final Research Report of the research project Hush City Mobile Lab, TU Berlin, Berlin, Germany. Submitted to the HEAD-Genuit Foundation.
  • Radicchi A. (2019). The open source soundscapes approach to everyday quiet areas. Criteria and recommendations for the Berlin Plan of Quiet Areas (2018-2023), Technical University of Berlin. Technical Report submitted to the Municipality of Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
  • Radicchi A. (2018). Final Research Report of the research project Beyond the Noise: Open Source Soundscapes, TU Berlin, Berlin, Germany. Submitted to the EC &TU Berlin/Ipodi Program.


2009 – Present


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CS4RIVERS is a citizen science project conducted by the University of Siena within the National Biodiversity Future Centre, a PNRR-funded project that brings together national scientific research excellence and modern technologies to monitor, preserve and restore biodiversity in order to counteract anthropogenic impacts, the effects of climate change and to support ecosystem services in a sustainable way

The project aims to constitute the Citizen Science Observatory of the Ombrone River Basin by involving local communities and stakeholders in monitoring its fluvial biodiversity. Specifically, the project participants are involved in training, data collection and analysis, and definition of policies and strategies for the conservation and protection of the biodiversity of the Ombrone River.

Within the context of this project, from May 2023 to November 2023, I was responsible for ideating, developing and executing the project’s Stakeholder Action Plan which resulted in the creation of a multilevel stakeholder network, including key partners from national, regional and local authorities in addition to local associations, museums, educational partners. See the full list of partnerships here.




National Biodiversity Future Center
University of Siena’s scientific unit
4-Helix Key Stakeholders


The CS4RIVERS project is funded through the Piano Nazionale di Ripresa e Resilienza – Ministero Università e Ricerca via European funding #NextGenerationEU.
The project’s visual identity is designed by Orengo & Riondino.



<Cover and above image respectively by Gabor Molnar and Daryan Shamkhali via unsplash>


Within the context of Agenda 2030, the built environment stands at the crossroad of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as it is a determinant for making green, energy-efficient and zero-pollution buildings and neighbourhoods (SDG3, SDG11, SDG15); boosting the circular economy (SDG8); lowering GHG emissions and contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation (SDG3, SDG9); protecting biodiversity (SDG15); and creating strong and global partnerships (SDG17).

The built environment is also key to the health and well-being of people, and its design is instrumental in achieving high-quality urban environments in response to societal, environmental and economic sustainability challenges like climate change, energy consumption, nature preservation and pollution. However, a scrutiny of the literature in sustainability and urban design studies shows that mainstream ‘sustainable’ approaches to the design of the built environment are mainly driven by a digital and technocratic approach applied to the building and neighbourhood scale, which tends to sideline the public realm and the social and natural life which unfolds there. Furthermore, mainstream ‘sustainable’ approaches are underpinned by theoretical and methodological frameworks with a bias towards cognitivism, thus overlooking the complex and interrelated cognitive, emotional, affective and corporal conditions of human beings.

To tackle these challenges, sustainability scholars have developed novel sustainability paradigms, such as the Regenerative Sustainability (RS) and the Sensory Sustainability Science (SSS) frameworks. The RS paradigm, for instance, aims to manifest thriving complex adaptive systems in a fully integrated individual-to-global system and calls for humans to live in conscious alignment with the living system principles of wholeness, change and relationships, as nature does. Another novel approach is represented by the one underpinning the so-called SSS paradigm, which calls for incorporating recent advances in social science, sensory studies and neo-phenomenology related to theories about corporeality, materiality, atmosphere and resonance in sustainability science.

However, how are these sustainability paradigms addressed in urban design by scholars and practitioners? What are the implications for theoretical and applied research, practice and developments in sustainability and urban design?

This Special Issue, “Urban Design for Sustainable Built Environment”, scrutinises these open questions through a collection of nine research articles which reflect a paradigm shift towards sustainable urban design practices and studies which privilege people and sustainable development in respect of the planet.
Specifically, these articles address three macro-themes: (a) regenerative streets and green public spaces; (b) emotions, cognition and orientation; and (c) methods and technology, as outlined in the following sections.

Continue reading our Editorial and explore the Special Issue.




  • Prof Dr J. Vida Manzano, University of Granada, Spain
  • Dr Antonella Radicchi, University of Siena, Italy
  • Dr J. Xiao, Birmingham CIty University, UK


We would like to thank all authors for their contributions to this Special Issue and for their high-quality work and effort in the reviewing process of the manuscripts. We would like also to acknowledge the pioneering research work on the Sensory Sustainability Science by Harald Heinrichs which has been inspirational to the conception of this Special Issue.



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Within the context of the Mutual Learning Exercise Citizen Science Initiatives – Policy and Practice – initiated by the European Commission D-G Research & Innovation in collaboration with 11 Member States’ representatives – I worked as High-Level Expert on Topic 5 Scaling up citizen science. In this role, I was responsible for doing research on the understudied topic of scaling up citizen science to prepare and write the Discussion Paper and the  Thematic Report as well as curate a 2-day Workshop dedicated to exploring the topic via interactive sessions and focus groups held in Berlin on 7-8 November 2022.


Topic 5 in the series “Scaling up citizen science” addressed meanings, dimensions, models and approaches/strategies of scalability in citizen science as well as drivers, success factors and challenges of (up)scaling citizen science projects and initiatives across Europe.

Due to limited knowledge available in the literature about scaling up in citizen science, both the Topic 5 Discussion Paper and the Thematic Report draw on original content generated through a mixed methods approach which combined findings from i) a literature review, ii) a survey distributed among the MLE CSI-PP country representatives, iii) interviews with seven experts in citizen science and cognate disciplines, and iv) three working sessions held during the Berlin meeting on 7-8 November 2022.

The main outcomes of Topic 5 consist of:

  • a multi-dimension qualitative definition of scaling up in citizen science,
  • the MLE CSI-PP Responsible and Inclusive Scalability Framework,
  • nine exemplary citizen science projects and initiatives and
  • eight key areas of action for policymakers aimed at supporting the (up)scaling of citizen science projects and initiatives across Europe.

Firstly, the Thematic Report acknowledges that scaling up is a value/ambition that suits unique types of citizen science projects and initiatives. Hence it suggests that scaling up should be i) a ‘responsible’ and inclusive process, ii) context- and domain-dependent, iii) sustained by a sound logic consistent with the project/initiative, iv) driven by common scientific questions and common social challenges, and v) built on proven impact, related to science and scientific literacy, inclusion, regulatory frameworks, matters of concern (e.g., environmental, societal).

Secondly, drawing on this multi-dimension qualitative definition of scaling up, it introduces the MLECSI-PP Responsible and Inclusive Scalability Framework composed of four models of scalability (scaling up-out-deep-down) and two approaches/strategies (top-down/deliberate and bottom-up/accidental).

Thirdly, it presents five citizen science projects and initiatives exemplary of the four models and the two approaches/strategies of the MLECSI-PP Responsible and Inclusive Scalability Framework, namely: Plastic Pirates – Go Europe!, OpenStreetMap, CurieuzeNeuzen, Hush City and Roadkill. Furthermore, four exemplary upscaled citizen science projects are illustrated in the Discussion Paper, i.e., FotoQuest GO, The Star Spotting Experiment, Tea Bag Index, Dugnad for Havet (in English: Marine Citizen Science) [1].

Finally, the Thematic Report proposes eight key areas of action for policymakers:

  • Rethink the meaning of Innovation in CS acknowledging that today innovation in CS stands in the processes of reproducing/sustaining/upscaling successful CS projects and initiatives[2].
  • Adopt and promote a multi-dimension qualitative definition of scalability which stems from the triangulation of proof of value, matter of concern and social/legal alignment and, according to this definition, define specific evaluation criteria for selecting CS projects/initiatives to be scaled up.
  • Ensure responsible scaling-up addresses the RRI dimensions[3] and ensure they are accounted in the design and development of the projects/initiatives to align outcomes with the values of society.
  • Commit to ‘People First’ (up)scaling processes, acknowledging the importance of keeping people central and connected in the process of scaling CS projects/initiatives and taking action to remove the systemic barriers impeding people from actively participating in science producing ‘contextualised knowledge’ on the local/regional/national/EU level[4].
  • Support a Responsible Scaling Ambition[5] in CS by designing specific funding programs and mechanisms, diversifying the sources/types of funding, and ensuring the funding lines and sources can be visible to CS grassroots movements and bottom-up CS projects/initiatives.
  • Support the implementation of different models (up-out-deep-down) and approaches/strategies (top-down/deliberate, bottom-up/accidental) of scalability, acknowledging scalability in CS is context- and domain-dependent and should be responsible, inclusive and aligned with the logics of the projects/initiatives.
  • Develop local/regional/national/European networks to foster collaboration and initiate discussions about the cultural transformation/s and implications expected via the scaled projects, with an emphasis on the language issue and its cultural and scientific implications.
  • Support the exploitation of citizen-generated data from (up)scaled CS projects/initiatives integrating them in policies and policymaking programs at the local/regional/national/EU level.


Research study, interviews, survey and focus groups:  2022
Writing and publications of the Thematic Report and Discussion Paper: 2022-2023



The author would like to acknowledge the valuable contributions of the participants in the Mutual Learning Exercise Citizen Science Initiatives – Policy and Practice, the interviewees and the colleagues who contributed to the Discussion paper and the Thematic Report.

[1] An illustration of these four projects can be found in Section 4 of the Discussion paper “Scaling up citizen science” available at

[2] Schade 2022

[3] The RRI dimensions are public engagement, open access, gender equality, science education, ethics, and governance. Source:

[4] Irwin (1995); Skarlatidou & Haklay (eds) (2021)

[5] Adapted from the term “Scaling Ambition” from Maturano (2020)


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Module: BNV7142 Placemaking
Module Leader: Dr Antonella Radicchi, Senior Lecturer in Urban Planning and Sustainability, Birmingham City University Department for the Built Environment
Academic Year 2022/23 Semester 1 (3h/w)

Module Concept

Placemaking is a holistic and global concept that applies to built and natural environments, and it is central to successful spatial planning. It is a collaborative process which unfolds through situated social practices across different spatial and temporal scales to transform spaces into socially inclusive, sustainable and liveable places.

In this module, students developed spatial planning skills through engagement with the ideas about the creation and management of ‘place’ by working on a real-life case study in Port Loop, Birmingham.

Acting as a planning consultancy, they re-imagined the Port Loop site and transformed it into a socially inclusive, sustainable and liveable place, applying a participatory approach and working in collaboration with the project partner, Civic Square, and the local community living in the neighbourhood.

Key tasks included:

  • the development of a concept for a Port Loop Public Space Action Plan that should have its core in the factory of Port Loop and connect it to the public spaces of the site and its surroundings
  • design a placemaking intervention for one of the public spaces of the Port Loop Public Space Action Plan
  • ideation and implementation of a participatory methodology via interviews with the project partner Civic Square and key stakeholders/community representatives and an online survey with the local community
  • Incorporate the community’s feedback, visions, needs and hopes into the final project proposal


Fall Semester 2022


Birmingham City University, Department for the Built Environment
Project Partner: CIVIC  SQUARE


<Cover and above image respectively by Sergei Byxarev and Leyre via unsplash>

Planning Artificial Light at Night for Pedestrian Visual Diversity in Public Spaces

Sustainability 2023, 15(2), 1488;

This open access article makes the case for addressing pedestrian visual diversity when planning artificial light for public spaces at night, by drawing upon original findings from an exploratory study where twenty-one open-ended interviews were conducted with experts in the fields of artificial lighting, urban planning and health studies. Specifically, this article provides (1) the introduction of the concept of pedestrian visual diversity, defined as the condition, capabilities and needs of visually impaired pedestrians, (2) a systematization of overlooked issues in the planning of artificial light for visual diverse pedestrians in public spaces and (3) the proposition of a participatory framework for the application of lightwalks as an experiential method for involving visual diverse pedestrians in the data collection on and analysis of artificial lighting in public spaces at night. In conclusion, it identifies five strands for further research at the nexus of pedestrian visual diversity, public space and night studies for inclusive light planning.


Research study:  2021-2022
Publication: 2023


  • Dr Antonella Radicchi, TU Berlin and Birmignham City University
  • Prof Em Dr Dietrich Henckel, TU Berlin


The authors would like to acknowledge the valuable contributions of the interviewees and thank Carmen Rosas-Pérez and Mattia Cobianchi for their feedback on the use of the terms visual diversity and visual diverse in relation to the scholarship on aural diversity.


Image by Joshua Sortino via unsplash
<Cover and above image respectively by Michael Dziedzic and Joshua Sortino via unsplash>


Module: BNV5147 Digital Cities
Module Leader: Dr Antonella Radicchi, Senior Lecturer in Urban Planning and Sustainability, Birmingham City University Department for the Built Environment
Academic Year 2022/23 Semester 2 (4h/w)

Technology is the answer, but what was the question? Cedric Price

Module Concept

Since the 1970s the concept of the digital city has been widely discussed in academic, artistic, societal and political contexts under different labels such as the city of bits, e-topia, smart city, and intelligent city to name but a few. More recently, with the application of digitisation and digitalization to the planning process, the debate about the impact of digital technology on urban contexts has regained momentum with an emphasis on aspects of e.g., democracy, governance, participation, ethics, justice, analysis and visualization tools, city planning and design outcomes, climate change and planetary health.

According to the literature, the digital city can be meant as an umbrella term which includes urban concepts characterized by the intersection of three features: the physical elements of the urban context, the social communities and the digital technological infrastructures mainly represented by Information Communication Technologies. A scrutiny of projects and studies about digital technology and digital cities shows the complexity of this umbrella urban concept. On the one hand, the digital city promises to deliver new efficiencies, improve quality of life, boost the economy, enhance democratic communication and even solve climate and environmental crises. On the other hand, the digital city is often underpinned by top-down, technocratic, a-historical, a-political and a-contextual approaches which can even exacerbate forms of spatial, social, economic and environmental injustice.

To address these issues, critics of the digital city suggest alternative theoretical and methodological approaches which should re-centre the discourse around the meaning and purpose of digital technology and re-question the vision of the city and the values underpinning the digital city in light of the current climate, environmental, societal, democratic, energy and economic crises.

Against this backdrop, in this Module we took a critical stance to study the theory & practice of digital cities, drawing on a humanist perspective on knowledge for urban planning.

Specifically, we questioned the implications and impacts of the digital city in three main areas:
• Urban governance (e.g., digital planning, digitization and digitalization of data & procedure, participation, digital surveillance, algorithmic planning)
• Urban analysis and representation (e.g., big data, digital and other twins, mobile apps and digital maps)
• Urban design and planning (e.g., smart neighbourhoods, digital tech solutions applied to mobility, green, artificial light etc).

During the Module, students were invited to reflect upon key questions central to the critical debate on the digital city, e.g., what is the meaning and purpose of digital technology? What is our vision of the digital city? What are the values that should nurture the vision of the digital city in terms of urbs and civitas? For whom and by whom should the digital city be imagined and developed? How are public participation, public spaces and urban commons framed by the digital city? What is the ecological footprint of the digital city? What are the challenges and opportunities of digital technology and digital cities in light of the current climate, environmental, societal, democratic, energy and economic crises?

To address these questions and critically study the theory & practice of digital cities, students were supported by four major learning means which constitute the core of the Module’s Teaching and Learning Plan:

  • The Digital Cities Lecture Series Spring 2023: weekly guest lectures with national and international guest speakers from industry and academia who will present the state of the art of research and practice on digital cities.
  • The Board of Bits: weekly interactive sessions discussing key readings, digital technology, case studies and novel ideas about digital cities, led by the Module Leader.
  • Individual Reflective Essays to identify and discuss opportunities, challenges and potential solutions that digital technology & digital cities can present to the future of the planning profession, drawing on real-life case studies.
  • A planning-based project to re-imagine an assigned site in Birmingham, in line with the students’ vision and values of their Digital City.



Spring Semester 2023


Birmingham City University, Department for the Built Environment
Module Tutor: Milad Mohtadi, Technician in Digital Technologies, BCU
Project Partner: Harry Conway, Senior Technician Immersive Media, STEAMhouse

Project Partner: Holly Williams, Town Planner, Craig Rowbottom, Associate Town Planner and Matthew Davis, Senior Landscape Architect, @ ARUP Birmingham


Figure above: Cityscape of Berlin. Image source: Wikimedia Commons, Ph.  Thomas Wolf  CC License.


Project studio: B5 Bachelor Auftragsprojekt “Is Berlin a Walkable City?”
TU Berlin, Institute of Urban and Regional Planning | Winter Semester 2020/2021 & 2021/2022 | online / onsite course (4h/w)
Instructor: Dr. Arch. Antonella Radicchi

In the XX century, high-speed transport and the quest for efficiency degraded the walkable city. Hazardous high-speed traffic broke up the fine-grained pedestrian network and imposed barriers to free movement on foot. In forgoing the pedestrian experience, the street lost its intimate scale and transparency and became a mere service road, devoid of public life. In the 1960s and 1970s, people started reclaiming the streets, demanding more public space, as was the emblematic case in the Village, NYC. More recently, in the past few decades, the knowledge of the social, environmental, economic and political benefits associated with walking has motivated European policy-makers and municipal planners to employ sustainable policies and design interventions for creating pedestrian-friendly environments. Such efforts have ranged from complete pedestrianisation and permanently or temporarily closure of streets to traffic to encouraging a symbiotic relationship of multiple transportation modes. In Berlin, such as in Paris, Barcelona, Milan and other European cities, soft and pedestrian mobility is gaining momentum. Specifically, the Municipality of Berlin has taken action to create pedestrian-friendly environments by implementing a planning strategy grounded on four pillars:

1. The Mobility Act, with a new branch focusing on pedestrian mobility;
2. The development of “pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods”;
3. The creation of safe crossing;
4. The improvement of accessibility for pedestrians.

Against this backdrop, these research-informed project studio courses aim to investigate whether and to which extent this planning strategy is progressing towards the goal of making Berlin a walkable city, by working on the following case studies:

  • Assessment and redesign of the area Uhlandstr./Mecklenburgische Str. to favour the walkable connection between the two sections of the Volkspark Wilmersdorf.
  • Assessment of the “Pedestrian-friendly Shopping Street” concept implemented in Friedrichstr. in Mitte Friedrichstr.
  • Formulation of design guidelines for a walkable Berlin, combining the research findings from the other case studies with the knowledge from international best practices.
  • Creation of an online StoryMap (and a related descriptive database) illustrating the permanent and temporary pedestrian-friendly projects in Berlin implemented by the Berlin Municipality and community groups.

For the investigation of these case studies, a definition of “walkable city” will be provided by the students and used as a lens through which to analyse the case studies. The students will be required to organise themselves in small working groups, select a case study among the three proposed, choose the research methods, manage the workload for the analysis and assessment of the case studies, present the progress work during the course of the semester by means of presentations and report the results of their work in the final outputs of the project studio courses.

A broad range of research methods can be applied for the investigation of the case studies such as review and content analysis of literature and policy documents, media and press scanning, interviews with stakeholders and local residents, statistics, spatial analysis, behavioural and mind mapping, sensory ethnographic methods (such as senses walks), multimodal tools (e.g., combining audio, visual and text content).


Winter Semester 2020/2021, 2021/2022


TU Berlin, Institute of Urban and Regional Planning.
Project Partners from the Berlin Municipality (in alphabetical order): Jörg Kaptain Senatsverwaltung für Umwelt, Verkehr und Klimaschutz; Saskia Leckel, Senatsverwaltung für Umwelt, Verkehr und Klimaschutz, Arbeitsgruppe Fußverkehrsinfrastruktur; Dan Orbeck Senatsverwaltung für Umwelt, Verkehr und Klimaschutz, Gruppenleiter „Fußverkehrsinfrastruktur“.
Guest critics in the AY 2021/2022 (in alphabetical order): Prof. Em. Dr. Dietrich Henckel, TU Berlin, Prof. Dr. Antje Michel, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Prof. Dr. Rolf Monheim, Universität Bayreuth, Ing. Ricarda Pätzold, Deutsches Institut für Urbanistik.


Figure above: Sunset at the Spree, Berlin. Copyright: Ansgar Koreng. Image source: Wikipedia


Against the contemporary disciplinary debate on the creation of river baths as a means of regaining rivers for public life and improving environmental quality, this article presents the treatment of the Spree River in Berlin, by analysing three projects: the Spreeweg, the Flussbad Berlin and the Spree2011/WITE. To develop the research, which feeds this article, mixed methods were applied, such as historical sources consultation, literature and planning documents review, interviews and empirical research. The analysis of the three projects showed potentialities for addressing ecological, hydrological, engineering and environmental issues, in light of sustainable development. However, it remains unclear what forms and at what scale these possibilities will be implemented in practice in Berlin.

This article, written in Italian, is open access and published in the Scientific Journal EcoWebTown. Journal of Sustainable Design, no. 21.




I would like to thank Felix Bentlin for sharing historical writings and information on the development of water infrastructure in the context of the Hobrecht Plan (private email correspondence); Christian Hajer for the information on urban development in Berlin and the Spree River (telephone interview); Ralf Steeg for the documentation and information provided in relation to the Spree2011 project and the WITE system (private email correspondence); Sabine Kopetzki and Uwe Borgenhagen for providing materials and maps of the Spreeweg and the Berlin’s Twenty Green Walks Plan (private email correspondence); Dietrich Henckel for valuable comments on the text; Rosario Pavia for the kind invitation to write this article.


COVER-SOSE2020-© Dilara Ünlüel 2020
Figure above: Nature and the City. Pictures taken in Berlin by the student Dilara Ünlüel © 2020


Seminar: M 6.2 Ökonomie der Stadterneuerung: “Sustainability and Urban Renewal” 
TU Berlin, Institute of City and Regional Planning | Summer Semester 2020 & 2021 | online course (2h/w)
Instructor: Dr. Arch. Antonella Radicchi

Currently, there is a growing concern with regard to health and supporting concepts like sustainability, liveability and well-being in science, economy, policy, and planning. More than ever before, those themes are dominating programs of major cities and governments, recently in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. These programmes have in common a renovated interest in the “public space agenda”. Hereby, public spaces are considered as key ingredients for creating more socially, economically and ecologically responsible and sustainable cities. Apart from that, there is also increased attention in supra-national organizations (e.g. World Health Organization, European Commission) and their pertinent agendas (e.g. the 7th EC Environmental Action Programme) to align to global challenges of the SDGs and find solutions. Accordingly, a majority of European cities are now implementing policies for sustainable urban planning and design, where aspects of their environmental performance are under particular scrutiny.
Against this backdrop, the aim of this course is to critically reflect on the current debate on Sustainable Cities, by looking at the interface of policy/practice so to assess how sustainability policies have been implemented through urban renewal projects. Berlin will be taken as a case study city and the UN Sustainable Development Goal no. 3 Good Health and Well-Being and no. 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities as a reference. Public spaces will act as a reference spatial framework for the development of this study. Policies and urban renewal projects will be presented, addressing four increasingly relevant themes, i.e. urban noise and quiet areas; nature and the city; artificial light and the urban night; and walkable cities. Students will be encouraged to use neighbourhoods where they live as case studies for the development of the individual fieldwork exercises.


Summer Semester 2020, 2021


TU Berlin, Institute of Urban and Regional Planning