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Verga

Pietro Lupo

Verga

Validated Lead Expert

Generic Skills

B.1. Understanding of integrated and sustainable urban development: 
My passion and commitment to make urban areas more liveable and sustainable places for their inhabitants have been – for more than 15 years – the leading reason of my educational and professional choices. My bachelor’s degree in Urbanism, my masters in Urban Planning & Policy Design and my doctorate in Urban Studies allowed me to gain a thorough understanding of complex urban systems, as well as to gather an increasing command of the concepts and main theories of participatory planning, urban regeneration, and integrated development. During my PhD, in particular, I focused on the research and analysis of European policies and instruments for territorial development, paying specific attention to area-based and local development initiatives. Additionally, my expertise on community-led local development case-studies and best practices has been enriched through a number of visiting scholarships in the USA and Germany. In my professional career as urban researcher and local development advisor I have been working on the research, analysis and mapping of several urban neighbourhoods in Italy, Germany, Romania and Belgium; on the identification of the needs and growth potential of several European cities; and on the design of tailor-made integrated local development strategies capable of maximising the benefits for the most disadvantaged residents, as well as on the design of EU projects (e.g. Urban Innovative Actions; Horizon 2020, INTERREG, etc...).
B1. Assessment: 
1: The applicant has in-depth understanding of sustainable urban development. His educational background is relevant (i.e. MSc in Urban Planning and Policy Design, and PhD in Urban Studies) and he also has extensive professional experience as researcher and advisor for several European cities.
B.2. Understanding of exchange and learning processes at transnational level: 
Transnational learning and the transfer of good practice have been at the core of my educational, academic, and professional paths for more than a decade, and my direct experience lays on three main levels. First, having been involved in international and multicultural academic and professional environments for nearly a decade I had the opportunity to exchange ideas, knowledge and methodologies with dozens of fellow colleagues from all over the world. Second, most of my research activities are focused on policy learning or transfer. My bachelor thesis and my visiting scholarship at the City University of New York – respectively dedicated to North-European policies for the re-use of abandoned property, and to neighbourhood-based community development initiatives in New York City – aimed at analysing and understanding how such policies and best practices could be transferred in other contexts. My doctoral dissertation aimed at assessing a representative case-study of participatory neighbourhood development in Berlin in order to identify universally valid policy lessons and provide recommendations for the improvement of both the regulation and implementation of Cohesion Policy’s Community-Led Local Development instrument. Third, as an advisor on local development I regularly liaise with city officials or technicians, and I am thus well aware of the wide spectrum of issues that may affect and influence the transfer of a model policy or best practice to a specific location
B2. Assessment: 
1: He has participated in more than one exchange activity at transnational level. He did research on the transfer of European and American policies for re-use of abandoned properties.
B.3. Proficiency in English: 
English has been my main working language for almost a decade, allowing me a very high level of fluency both in speaking and writing. Since my master’s I have always been involved in international environments, and my personal and professional everyday interactions regularly happen in English. I am therefore confident in liaising with any kind of native or non-native interlocutor within any kind of formal or informal context. I carried out research at leading international institutions in Italy, Germany and the United States, where my daily interactions with faculty and colleagues always happened in English. The vast majority of my academic production – including my doctoral dissertation and a number of published contribution – is written in English, and over the years I became fully confident in using this idiom in the writing of articles, essays and reports. Additionally, having presented my research at several international academic conferences I am now well trained and used to clearly and effectively communicate complex contents to audiences of different size and kind. Since 2017, I started my individual consultancy serving an international market, within the European Union and the USA. Accordingly I regularly liaise with my clients and produce professional documents in English.
B3. Assessment: 
1: The applicant is fluent in both oral and written English, there are no spelling or grammar mistakes in the application form and CV. Moreover, English is his main working language, as he is used to working in an international environment.

Expertise for the design and delivery of transnational exchange and learning activities:

C.3.1. Ability to communicate complex concepts to non-English speakers: 
I fluently speak Italian (native) and English and I am an independent user of German and Spanish. This allows me a good array of language options among which I can switch according to the audience’s preferences. Additionally, one of my strong personal assets is being by nature a very communicative person that can almost always find a way to interact with other people, even in front of a language barrier. While working for WUA (2017), for example, we were in a large roundtable meeting with the County Council of Iasi (Romania) and some of the participants only had a limited understanding of English. To overcome this potential blockage not only did I slow the pace of my speech and used a simplified vocabulary, but I also used a sketchbook to complement my discourse with drawn schemes, and if a specific word was required I relied on the Google Translate app. Also most of the participants to the Czech network of CLLD Urban Partnerships and Local Action Groups’ meeting in Prague (2018) had a very little knowledge of the English language. In this case I prepared a very visual presentation using text in both English and Czech. Finally, during the Demochange summer school in Trieste (2010) I was working with an international team of fellow students and we had to present our findings to an Italian speaking audience. I was bridging between the group and the audience during spoken interactions, while our presentation was a video with subtitles in both Italian and English.
C3.1 Assessment: 
1: The applicant provided two relevant examples of communicating concepts to non-English speakers (e.g. use of a sketchbook with drawn schemes, and a visual presentation with bilingual text messages).
C.3.2. Ability to draw out, support the verbalization and documentation of knowledge and practice from participants: 
While working with Urbasofia on the SPIRE project I produced a number of reports and documents drawing from participants’ input. Among these the following are the most relevant: -After attending the UIA Applicant Seminar in Brussels and having a bilateral meeting with the UIA Project Coordinator, I produced a condensed report aimed at summarising: the feedback on our project proposal and strategic suggestions by the UIA Project Coordinator; the guidelines, recommendations, and hints provided during the seminar by the speakers; as well as the general trend of project ideas from other cities, as emerged from informal discussions with colleagues. -After each of the meetings with our project partners in Baia Mare and Cluj-Napoca I produced a synthetic summary of the discussions’ outcomes and next steps, to be discussed with the project team (P. Elisei and S. Leopa). While working for WUA we undertook a project-acquisition tour having meetings with city and regional administrations in several Romanian cities. At the end of the trip I produced a 10-pages report identifying - for each meeting - the key outcomes and main themes emerged, as well as a list of follow-up actions. During my PhD I carried out a series of semi-structured interviews with local stakeholders, experts and politicians. All interviews were conducted following a common template in order to facilitate the comparison of interviewees answers and their discussion with my supervisors (L. Colini, F. Eckard)
C3.2 Assessment: 
?: The examples provided are only partially relevant to the applicant's ability to support the verbalization and documentation of knowledge from participants. He pointed to summary reports which are more indicative of his ability to capture knowledge for participants to take away.
C.3.3. Ability to capture learning for participants to take away: 
During the 3 days of the Placemaking for Innovation Workshop in Valencia I contributed to synthesize the outcomes of a collective thematic brainstorming session on the meaning, scope and goals of placemaking: Prof. Amanda Third (ICS-WSU) and I gathered the inputs (keywords or short sentences) left on sticky notes by the ca. 40 participating international experts, we categorised them (qualities, actions, aims) and ultimately we collaboratively wrote a 2-pages note to be incorporated in the Marina de Valencia’s “Public Space for Innovation Manifesto”. With respect to my work for Urbasofia, after the meetings with SPIRE’s delivery partners I produced a report including all the technical contributions of each partner so to provide to everyone a comprehensive picture of the technical expertise involved and of the technical features of the different project’s components. My summarisation of meeting outcomes was complemented with the provision of successful case studies on phytoremediation and circular bio-economy and it fed the mutual learning process within our partners consortium, towards the concretisation of the SPIRE project’s actions.
C3.3 Assessment: 
1: The applicant provided two relevant examples of capturing learning for participants to take away (e.g. synthesizing inputs from a brainstorming session; drafting a report incorporating various contributions of partners).
C.3.4. Ability to produce concise reports that incorporate good practices and policy messages: 
During my work at WUA I worked on several internal strategic documents, delivering context analysis, model-practices examples, and policy messages. In particular I produced the following documents: -Pre-acquisition reports for the city of Seraign (BE), the city of Brasov (RO), and the owner of a residential tower in Brussels (BE), including: the analysis of the urban system and of its needs and potential; the current development trends and goals of the local administrations; the identification of key talking points and possible project goals; and a short collection of comparable international case studies. The report was aimed at informing the decision on whether to prepare an offer to the potential client; -Exposés for approaching potential clients (Brasov’s city administration and the owner of a residential tower in Brussels), each including the analysis of the area’s situation with the assessment of local issues and challenges as well as the identification of possible solutions and key policy messages in support of our proposals. Furthermore, my presentation at the Eurocities Social Affairs Forum was specifically aimed at providing evidence-based policy guidelines and recommendations for the implementation of inclusive Community-Led Local Development initiatives in European cities drawn from my PhD thesis’ case study (Körnerpark Neighbourhood Management, Berlin).
C3.4 Assessment: 
0: The applicant provides several examples of written outputs but these are not exactly reports incorporating good practices and policy messages. Instead, he pointed to pre-acquisition reports for several cities, exposés for approaching potential clients, and a presentation.
Summary Expertise for the design and delivery of transnational exchange and learning activities: 
I have constantly been involved in international exchange and learning activities at both academic and professional levels since 2012. I have a strong experience in organising and facilitating meetings, seminars and workshops; in liaising with colleagues, partners and clients (both face-to-face and remotely); and in sharing and communicating outcomes and results to different kinds of audiences, using different means and media. Throughout my academic path, not only did I enhance my skills in publicly presenting complex concepts, but I also developed a strong ability in analysing case studies and model practices, and to deliver evidence-based policy recommendations to academics, professionals and policy-makers. My professional experiences in strategic planning consultancy and in the design of EU projects provided me with solid abilities in facilitating meetings and roundtables with a wide range of participants (e.g. clients, project partners, stakeholders, local administrators, politicians,...) from different countries and cultural backgrounds. In doing so I can rely on a very strong team ethic and inclusive approach to collaborative/participatory work, as well as on remarkable mediation, negotiation and conflict-mitigation skills. Furthermore I draw on my capacities in logical thinking and summarisation to produce clear and concise briefings and reports to feed in mutual learning and exchange processes among partners and participants.
Assessment: 
The applicant is validated for C because he meets the minimum criteria for C1 (3 out of 3), C2 (2 out of 4), and C3 (2 out of 4).

Thematic expertise:

Theme / Policy: 
Active Inclusion of Target Groups
D.1. Deep knowledge on the selected theme and related policy challenges, including up to date practice, research, etc.: 
Over the past 7 years, I have had the opportunity to research and work on policies and practices for the active inclusion of target groups in many ways. Among others, the following are particularly relevant: -During my visiting scholarship in New York City (2012) I researched on the participatory arrangements and methods of local Community Development Corporations (CDCs). Specifically, I investigated the case studies of the Fifth Avenue Committee in Brooklyn and the Cooper Square Committee in the Lower East Side, paying particular attention to their inclusive governance framework and their strategies to trigger bottom-up regeneration processes.This work has been published as a chapter in “Exploring the Crisis” (Borghini & Campo eds., 2015). -During my PhD (2013-2017) I analysed and assessed the local governance and development strategy of the Körnerpark Neighbourhood Management in Berlin – a community-led neighbourhood development initiative, implemented through the ERDF co-financed Soziale Stadt Programme – in order to understand under which conditions the Community-Led Local Development can effectively foster widely inclusive processes for the co-creation of development strategies within European cities. -Working with Urbasofia (2018-present) I led the efforts in the definition of all the participatory and co-creation activities foreseen by Baia Mare’s project proposal to the 4th Call of the Urban Innovative Actions: SPIRE - Smart Post-Industrial Regenerative Ecosystem
D1 Assessment: 
0: The applicant did not demonstrate 2 years of relevant experience within the thematic area of Active inclusion of target groups. He has been involved in projects and activities related to participatory approaches to local development. However, he did not mention any specific target/ vulnerable/ disadvantaged groups, which have been involved in these activities. During the phone call with the applicant, he specified that his relevant experience was during his PhD and was targeted at migrants in a Berlin neighbourhood. However, he admitted that his activities with such groups have been mainly on the academic side.
D.2. Ability to produce thematic inputs to feed in the learning process of in projects in which you have been involved: 
During my professional experience I produced a wide array of thematic inputs in different forms and addressing different kinds of audiences. Specifically: -While working for Walloth Urban Advisors (WUA - 2017), I wrote a booklet (https://tinyurl.com/y7b8lzfh) to present the case study of the so-called “NoLo” district in Milan, showing how the involvement of key local stakeholders helped triggering a semi-spontaneous socio-economic development process in the neighbourhood. This work has been subsequently presented and discussed during strategic planning meetings with regional and municipal authorities in Brasov, Bacau (Romania) and Lviv (Ukraine), with the aim of demonstrating the potential of target groups’ involvement in city regeneration policies. -I presented my findings on Berlin’s Neighbourhood Management model to an audience of ca. 25 city officers and politicians during the EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum (SAF) in Stuttgart (Oct. 2018) -I wrote an invited position paper for LDnet.eu – an international network that brings together knowledge and people in local development across the EU – discussing how to overcome EU discontent in the so-called places that don't matter by complementing the CLLD with innovative digital participatory platforms and token-based value systems (Feb. 2019). Additionally, I presented my research papers on community development in the USA and in Germany at several academic conferences across Europe (eg. AESOP, RSA, AISRe, etc…).
D2 Assessment: 
1: The applicant provided three examples of thematic inputs used to feed in learning processes (e.g. a booklet demonstrating the potential of target groups in city regeneration policies; a position paper on local development and digital participatory platforms).
D.3. Ability to produce concise reports that incorporate learning from exchange & learning activities, put forward good practice: 
Since 2012 the main goal of my research work has been to investigate and analyse case studies and best practices in Europe and the USA in order to draw inspiration and guidelines for the development of comparable policies and/or initiatives in other contexts. The outputs of these works have been manyfold, spanning from academic articles, working papers and conference presentations, to more concise reports, booklets, position papers and blog posts targeting a non-academic audience of city practitioners and policy-makers. Specifically, starting from my PhD thesis on the Community-Led Local Development, I extrapolated a number of synthetic versions dedicated to different audiences. Among these: -During the SAF I presented the lessons learnt and the conditions for transferability and replication of the Berlin case study in the form of a short booklet (https://tinyurl.com/y5ylyrph); -A working paper version has been featured on the LDnet blog (https://tinyurl.com/y7n56owx) and newsletter (November 2017) Additionally, my paper on CDCs in New York is specifically aimed at providing guidelines for the adoption of the North-American community-development framework in Europe/Italy; and during my work at WUA I regularly produced internal reports drawing policy messages from good practices and case studies.
D3 Assessment: 
0: The applicant did not provide two entirely relevant examples. Instead of concise reports that incorporate learning from exchange, he pointed to a presentation of lessons learnt and a working paper.
D.4. Understanding of how to maximize the use of project results for benefits in capitalization, policy design, awarenes: 
In my most recent work with Urbasofia (late 2018/early 2019) I have been responsible – among other tasks – to lead the outreach and liaising efforts for Baia Mare’s project proposal to the 4th Call of the Urban Innovative Actions, “Smart Post-Industrial Regenerative Ecosystem” (SPIRE). During the preparation phase I designed and produced a brochure, a PowerPoint presentation and a 10-pages project summary. The brochure has been circulated during the UIA Applicant Seminar in November 2018 and used to introduce SPIRE to the officers of the Permanent Secretariat. The presentation and the project summary served as support materials to illustrate SPIRE’s main features during working meetings with potential delivery partners. The project summary has also been made available on social media in order to raise a broad awareness on the proposal and its potential for upscaling. Additionally, most of my research projects (namely, my works on CDCs in New York and on CLLD in Berlin) empirically analysed model practices, methods and strategies with the ultimate goal of sharing my findings and knowledge with an audience of city practitioners and policy-makers and thus informing and influencing local community-oriented development initiatives. Lastly, I also actively participated to EUROCITIES’ thematic forums and working groups and regularly circulate brief reports and commentaries on my personal website (www.pietroverga.com) and social media.
D4 Assessment: 
1: The applicant provided a valid example of using project results for benefits in capitalization, policy design, and awareness raising (i.e. design of a brochure, a PowerPoint presentation and a project summary for dissemination puposes).
Assessment: 
The applicant is not validated for D under the thematic area of Active inclusion of target groups, as he only meets 2 out of 4 criteria. My experience on the active inclusion of target groups is grounded on several years of research on case studies and model practices of participatory/inclusionary arrangements, frameworks and programmes implemented in the EU and the USA. Specifically, I investigated: -EU Cohesion Policy’s tools and instruments for community-based integrated development with a specific focus on the potential and limitations of the Community-Led Local Development in effectively engaging citizens in participatory processes towards the redressing of socio-economic imbalances in European cities (doctoral thesis); -A wide array of European programmes and policies for the participatory regeneration and revitalisation of urban neighbourhoods, including the EU’s URBAN Initiatives, the Italian Contratti di Quartiere and the German Social City and Neighbourhood Management programmes; -The North American model of grassroots empowerment and community organising, with a specific focus on New York City’s community development corporations, mutual housing associations and community land trusts; -The effects of the semi-spontaneous activation of local stakeholders in triggering the regeneration of run-down neighbourhoods in Milan. Additionally, in my most recent professional experience with Urbasofia I led the efforts in designing the strategy for citizens’ engagement and the co-creation activities included in the SPIRE project, presented by the city of Baia Mare to the 4th UIA Call
Theme / Policy: 
Urban Strategic Planning
D.1. Deep knowledge on the selected theme and related policy challenges, including up to date practice, research, etc.: 
I firstly approached urban strategic planning during my Master’s degree in Urban Planning & Policy Design at Politecnico di Milano (2009-2011) where I attended several classes and design workshops. During my subsequent research experiences in New York and at GSSI I always continued studying the planning strategies of different cities, among which - in particular - Milan, L’Aquila, Berlin and New York. After my PhD I worked for Walloth Urban Advisors (2017), a Brussels-based strategic planning consultancy firm. Here I was in charge for analysing urban systems (i.e. neighbourhoods, cities, metropolitan areas) in order to identify their needs and development potential. My reports would inform the definition of strategic planning advice for local authorities and/or private developers. While working for Urbasofia (2018-present) I led - together with PhDc Sabina Leopa - the design of “SPIRE”: Baia Mare’s project proposal to the 4th Call of the Urban Innovative Actions. In this context we were also in charge of designing a strategic development vision for the revitalisation of polluted brownfields and their re-incorporation into Baia Mare’s urban (eco)system.
D1 Assessment: 
1: The applicant has more than 2 years of relevant educational and professional experience related to Urban strategic planning. He has a MSc degree in Urban Planning & Policy Design. In addition, he has 2 years of experience as a consultant and advisor, providing strategic planning support to local authorities and private developers.
D.2. Ability to produce thematic inputs to feed in the learning process of in projects in which you have been involved: 
During my professional experience, I produced a wide array of thematic inputs in different forms and addressing different kinds of audiences. Specifically: -While working for Walloth Urban Advisors (WUA - 2017), I wrote a booklet (https://tinyurl.com/y7b8lzfh) to present the case study of the so-called “NoLo” district in Milan: a formerly run-down area currently transitioning into one of the most attractive neighbourhoods for local creatives. This work has been presented and discussed during strategic planning meetings with regional and municipal authorities in Brasov, Bacau (Romania) and Lviv (Ukraine), with the aim of demonstrating the potential of leveraging on emerging local trends in strategic planning. -In October 2018 I presented my findings on Berlin’s Neighbourhood Management model to an audience of ca. 25 city officers and politicians during the EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum (SAF) in Stuttgart (https://tinyurl.com/y5ylyrph); -While working at Urbasofia, I produced a synthetic brochure to publicly present the challenge, strategy and expected results of SPIRE: Baia Mare’s submission to the 4th UIA Call, which I designed and wrote together with PhDc Sabina Leopa. The brochure is being disseminated on my personal website (https://tinyurl.com/y45klbjh) and on social media.
D2 Assessment: 
1: The applicant provided three examples of thematic inputs used to feed in learning processes (e.g. a booklet demonstrating the potential of target groups in city regeneration policies; a position paper on local development and digital participatory platforms).
D.3. Ability to produce concise reports that incorporate learning from exchange & learning activities, put forward good practice: 
One of the key tasks of my job at WUA was to identify and research best practices and model example case studies for urban regeneration and strategic planning initiatives across Europe, in order to deliver short briefings and reports to corroborate the firm’s strategic proposals. Specifically, I developed: - a case study report on the revitalisation of the NDSM docks in Amsterdam that served to support the proposal of similar strategic planning approach to the regeneration of abandoned industrial facilities in the Ukrainian city of Lviv. - a report on selected case studies for the reuse of large dismissed industrial sites (e.g. Ruhr Area; Berlin’s Holzmarkt) to inform and guide the preparation of a strategic development vision for the city of Seraign (BE) Additionally, in 2013 I produced a report and presentation addressing local stakeholders and potential funders, aimed at illustrating a potential strategy for the social and physical regeneration of privately-owned blighted collective housing buildings in the district of via Padova in Milan, accompanied with case studies from comparable European and North American cases.
D3 Assessment: 
1: The applicant provided two valid examples of reports incorporating learning from exchange and learning activities (e.g. a case study report on the revitalisation of docks in Amsterdam; a report on selected case studies for the reuse of dismissed industrial sites).
D.4. Understanding of how to maximize the use of project results for benefits in capitalization, policy design, awarenes: 
In my last assignment at Urbasofia I was responsible (together with PhDc Sabina Leopa) of designing the upscaling and capitalisation strategy for Baia Mare’s SPIRE project proposal. The project will test on 4 pilot sites an innovative approach to the strategic regeneration of polluted brownfields that adopts phytoremediation techniques and creates a circular ecosystem for the upcycling of biomass and the stimulation of new bio-businesses. The experiment will be monitored and evaluated through a Life Cycle Assessment, and the empirical evidence gathered will inform the design of the Masterplan 2050 for Baia Mare’s Metropolitan Area: a long-term land re-use and bio-economy development strategy re-integrating ca. 650 ha of brownfields at Metropolitan level. Additionally, in our proposal we forecast to constantly communicate the progress and results of SPIRE at local, national and international level through different means (including academic publications and conferences, online articles and social media posts, and an interactive GIS-based platform), in order to maximise the project’s contribution to the transnational exchange and learning process on sustainable regeneration and brownfields bioremediation.
D4 Assessment: 
1: The applicant provided one valid example of using project results for benefits in capitalization and awareness raising. He was responsible for designing the capitalisation strategy for a UIA project proposal. He referred to dissemination through publications, conferences, social media posts, and an interactive GIS-based platform.
Summary Thematic expertise: 
My experience on urban strategic planning is grounded on several years of study, research and practice across Europe. As a researcher I studied and analysed several European best practices and model examples of strategic planning, with a specific focus on the reuse and regeneration of torn-down urban areas and abandoned brownfields in Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands. As an urban systems analyst at Walloth Urban Advisors I have been responsible for carrying out desk and field analyses on selected urban areas and to identify their needs and potential, geared to the design of strategic development visions. In this context I produced several reports and strategic briefings to inform internal decisions as well as to corroborate project proposals with urban authorities. As a consultant to Urbasofia I currently work on a number of EU projects. In my most recent assignment I led (together with PhDc Sabina Leopa) the efforts in designing the SPIRE project: Baia Mare’s submission to the 4th Call of the Urban Innovative Actions. With SPIRE we propose an innovative sustainable land-use strategy based on the renaturing and bio-remediation of contaminated sites and the creation of a circular ecosystem geared to the upcycling of local biomass to address local energy-related needs, as well as to support businesses start-up and stimulate eco-friendly economic development.
Assessment: 
The applicant is validated for D under the thematic area of Urban strategic planning, as he meets 4 out of 4 criteria.

Informations

Residence location:
Italy
Languages:
Italian - Mother tongue
Foreign Languages level: 
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Foreign Languages level: 
Foreign languages: 
Email:
info@pietroverga.com

Area of expertise