After graduating in Architecture at the IUAV (Architecture University Institution of Venice) with 110/110, Maddalena begins her collaboration with UDSU in October 2013, working as a Research Assistant on the GALE project (Global Accessibility to Local Experience) thus investigating the theoretical basis of the meaning of neighbourhood and community throughout history.
During her studies Maddalena develops a particular interest in development work and sustainable architecture, especially after working at Francis Kéré Architecture Study in Berlin, and spending some time in Burkina Faso surveying the construction site of a secondary school in a rural informal settlement and doing investigation for her master thesis in Ouagadougou (capital city).
In 2014 Maddalena starts her PhD focusing on both development theories and studies on informal settlements and, due to the lack of official information about informal settlements, she plans a period of fieldwork in order to collect data about the internal urban structure, looking at both physical elements and governmental organization, of a slum on the outskirts of Lima (Peru, South America).
Her research goal is twofold: on the one hand to show that, however chaotic and spontaneous, informal settlements do have a structure, which is actually not far from that of traditional environments and thus need to be understood under a morphological perspective; on the other hand, conceiving informal settlements as a vehicle of social and human change, to promote more general patterns of development, which may inform urban planning in the Global North as well as in the Global South.
Living and studying in Venice and in Granada made her appreciate traditional urban forms and develop a specific interest in apparently spontaneous and human scale urban environments, which she has been able to conjugate with development studies.
Scholarship awarded by the Foundation of the Rural Bank of Trento, Italy (Fondazione Cassa Rurale di Trento) for field work purpose