Sergio Porta

Sergio Porta


Dr. Sergio Porta is Professor of Urban Design, Head of Department and Director of the Urban Design Studies Unitat 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”.

Ombretta Romice

Ombretta Romice

MSc Director
Dr Ombretta Romice is Senior Lecturer in Urban design at the Department of Architecture, University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She is also actively involved with IAPS, the International Association for People-Environment Studies, as President; in this role she has been on the organizing board of several Congresses (IAPS 2008, Rome; IAPS, 2010, Leipzig) and Symposia. She has been successful in securing the 22nd IAPS Congress  in Glasgow in 2012. The Congress will be jointly organized with Dr Edward Edgerton of the University of West of Scotland.

Her teaching and research work focuses on urban design, environmental psychology and user participation in design. She holds a PhD in urban design and a PostDoc in housing and regeneration sponsored by the European Union. She is a founding member of the Urban Sustainability through Environmental Design Network, an international network of urban design theorists and practitioners formed to research, co-ordinate and disseminate tools of sustainable urban design, with special emphasis on urban public space and its value to sustaining fulfilled lives.

In the Department she is Director of the Masters course in Urban Design. The course has a strategic collaboration with Glasgow City Council.

She collaborates on the course in Environmental Psychology at the University of West of Scotland, Department of Psychology with Edward Edgerton, with whom she organized the Conference Environmental Psychology in the UK: Bridging the Gap, in September 2005.


She is part of UDSU – Urban Design Studies Unit.

  • Principal investigator – Gateways to the Professions: Urban Design Skills, sponsored by RTPI (Royal Town Planning Institute) and DfES (Department for Education and Skills). This resulted in the development of a draft for an online Urban Design course. With Prof Porta she is now developing this into a Higher Programme in Urbanism.
  • Co-investigator in the Research Project Multimodal Representation of Urban Space, sponsored by AHRC/EPSRC and Research Partner in the Research project: Open Urban Spaces (OPUS) on use and meaning of public spaces in European Capitals of Culture, sponsored by the Norwegian Research Council.
  • Principal investigator – Research and Development Fund with Architecture and Design Scotland. The projectresulted in the publication of “50 Small Scottish Towns” and “20 Small Towns Under the Microscope”. Joanna Hooi and Laura Hart were the dissertation students and the appointed researchers in the projects.
  • Principal investigator – Scottish Arts Council: Communities in Action. A manual for neighborhood regeneration.