Professor Sergio Porta

Dr. Sergio Porta is Professor of Urban Design, Head of Department and Director of the Urban Design Studies Unit at the Department of Architecture, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK. He is currently involved in street design schemes and applied researches in Italy, UK and elsewhere. Dr. Porta is coordinator of an international network of space analysis and design scientists named UStED – Urban Sustainability through Environmental Design; he is member of the Environmental Structure Research Group, the Academy of Urbanism and of the editorial boards of leading international journals like “Environment and Planning B” and “Urban Design International”. Dr. Porta has substantially contributed to a major EPSRC funded research entitled “City Form” and a Leverhulme Trust research entitled “Experiential Landscape”. Dr. Porta has published over 30 works overall, 15 in the last 3 years, mostly in international refereed journals, plus 1 book in Italian and 1 in English.

Graduated as architect at the Polytechic of Milan, the PhD in Planning and lecturer in Urban Design at the same university, dr. Porta focuses his interests mostly on the social dimension of architecture and on public space design. As a Ph.D. and then a post doctoral student, dr. Porta has experienced prolonged stays abroad, particularly as Visiting Scholar at the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies (1998) and associate researcher at Murdoch University Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy in Perth, Western Australia (2001).

Dr. Porta’s latest research is mainly oriented to the definition of procedures, attitudes and tools for sustainable/human/adaptive urban analysis and design, ranging from GIS-based space analysis to sustainable community design, transportation planning and traffic calming techniques to strategies for safety and liveability in the public domain. In particular Dr. Porta has recently been leading a joint research with Dr. Vito Latora of the National Institute of Nuclear Physics of Catania, Sicily, aimed at developing tools for the network analysis of urban spatial systems, including those of streets and intersections. The tool allows for mapping centrality in urban spaces and establishing correlations with relevant dynamics such as land-use, vehicular or pedestrian flows, crime rates. Moreover, a new frontier of research is currently under exploration that involves a quantitative approach to urban morphology, i.e. the statistical characterization of different types of urban fabrics taken from the history of cities in order to infer “parental” relationships between them in an urban evolutionary perspective. Because of the biologic analogy that sustains it, this new branch of studies can be termed “urban morphometrics”.

Selected publications in 2009-2010:


Proudit, T. Lachence-Bernard, N. Strano, E. Porta, S. Joost, S. (2010), A Network Based Kernel Density Estimator applied to Barcelona Economic Activities, in Taniar et al. (eds.), ICCSA 2010: Part I, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg, 32-45.

Dempsey N, Brown C, Raman S, Porta S, Jenks M, Jones C, Bramley G, (2010), Elements of Urban Form, in Jenks M, Jones C, Dimensions of the Sustainable Cities, Springer, London, 21-51.

Hart L, Hooi J, Romice O, Porta S, (2010), Under the microscope: 20 small towns in Scotland, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

Mehaffy M, Porta S, Rofè Y, Salingaros N, (2010), Urban nuclei and the geometry of streets: The ‘emergent neighborhoods’ model, Urban Design International, 15 1–25.

Romice, Porta and Shah (2010). The Psychology of engagement: communities in action, Conservation Bulletin, People Engaging with Places, Issue 63, 15-17. Published.

Porta S, Strano E, Iacoviello V, Messora R, Latora V, Cardillo A, Wang F, Scellato S (2009), Street centrality and densities of retail and services in Bologna, Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 36, 450-465.

Porta S, (2009), Correlating Densities of Centrality and Activities in Cities: the Cases of Bologna (IT) and Barcelona (ES), in Rabino G, Caglioni M, Planning, complexity and new ICT, Alinea, Firenze, 37-46. Published.

In print:

Wang F, Antipova A, Porta S. (2010), Street Centrality and Land Use Intensity in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Refereed Journal Article, Journal of Transport Geography, doi:10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2010.01.004.

Porta, S. Latora, V. Strano, E. (2010), Networks in Urban Design. Six Years of Research in Multiple Centrality Assessment, in Estrada E, Fox M, Higham D, Oppo GL, Network Science: Complexity in Nature and Technology, Springer, London, UK.

Pagliardini, P. Porta, S. Salingaros, N. (2010), Geospatial analysis and living urban geometry, in Jiang B, Yao XA (eds), Geospatial Analysis and Modelling of Urban Environments: Structure and Dynamics, Springer, New York, in print.


Porta S, Latora V, Wang F, Rueda S, Cormenzana B, Càrdenas F, Latora L, Strano E, Belli E, Cardillo A, Scellato S, The Geography of Street Centrality and its Correlation with Economic Activities: the Case of Barcelona (ES).