Bottom-up Urban requalification

Urbasofia together with UHS Pro Business organised an event (26th of June 2017 in Bucharest) called “Bottom-up Urban requalification” Bucharest and Palermo: Comparing two realities. The main thematic of the event was concerned about how the influences of the history have changed the way to live in these two cities and the common spaces today. The discussion topics were the following:

  • How our cities were affected by history;
  • Requalification of public space: first step in order to create a more liveability environment;
  • Historical market of Ballarò, where local and foreign people work together;
  • Young Placemakers Initiative: a project designed to revitalize four public spaces through creative interventions;

The topics mentioned above were presented by Costin Lianu, General Director USH Pro Business, Martina Costa, graduated in Political Science at Palermo University (Italy), she is doing a traineeship at Ush Pro Business, Sabina Dimitriu, Urban and Regional Planner, she is focused on development strategies at city and metropolitan area levels at Urbasofia, Emilia Maria Duda, architecture and Associate Professor at Spiru Haret University Bucharest, Faculty of Architecture and by Fausto Melluso, member of  SoS Ballarò – Palermo.


Editorial by Miruna Drăghia


URBASOFIA has visibly grown during the last years and it is a great opportunity to be part of this phenomenon. It is a stimulating and creative environment which motivates and encourages young planners to take one step forward into professional life. Vast international expertise, past experiences and  fresh ideas are capitalising within our newest on-going projects: ROCK (Regeneration and Optimisation of Cultural heritage in creative and Knowledge cities, financed through H2020 Programme) and ATTRACTIVE DANUBE (Strengthening Capacities to Enhance Territorial Attractiveness of the Danube Region, financed under the 1st call of Danube Transnational Programme).
2017 started highly promising for us, as we have been very active in writing proposals and we successfully managed to deliver one proposal under UIA call: CENTAUR (Circular Economy Led Territorial and Urban Regeneration) and two proposals under Danube Transnational Programme, 2nd call: AGORA (Advancing innovative coGeneration Options for Revitalising local Areas) and ISTER (ConnectIng hiSTorical Danube rEgions Roman routes).
In the time of an invisible crisis regarding the future of the European Union (according to the White Paper released by the European Commission during the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome), as well as the growing number of common challenges shared by European cities, there is an emergent need for cities to collaborate and exchange practices, instruments and knowledge. As a consequence, the necessity for a powerful territorial governance (both multi-actor and multi-level) has become self-evident. In this context, URBASOFIA is delighted to offer its expertise and to bring its experiences in bridging the gap between key actors in urban and territorial planning all over Europe. Endorsed by high-level expertise and supported by a well-founded network of partners and collaborators, URBASOFIA is struggling to set the basis for an innovative approach towards strategic planning and policy-making in Romania, acting actively also in the European market.
Led by pressing urban and territorial issues and guided by our latest successful results, it is in our greatest ambition to take URBASOFIA even one step forward and establish a dynamic and contemporary network of cities, regions and key actors based on an inter-change dialogue and trans-scale cooperation.

I would like to invite you all to take a look at our latest project, events and collaborations!

Urban Planner @URBASOFIA
July 2017


The URBASOFIA mid-summer newsletter, as usual, summarizes the main relevant activities of the first part of the year. We continue to put all our creativity in what we propose and we do, the current political and governance context, both European and Romanian, is not in favour of having a  “pensiero positivo” (optimistic attitude). Despite a not favourable context, we cannot change our nature and continue to propose, with the due enthusiasm, ideas and projects for sustainable, concrete and coherent development. This issue is evidencing:

  1. the importance of the “local dimension” and the strength of organized, active and “content based” citizenship (special thanks to Daniela Ciaffi for contributing to our NL);
  2. the importance of heritage (cultural, natural…) in driving process of urban regeneration (the new ROCK Project (H2020, is a great stage for Urbasofia and a great opportunity to design and propose an implementation methodology for very important cities (Cluj, Eindhoven, Liverpool, Athena, Torino, Lion, Vilnius).
  3. Finally, our relevant effort in the Danube Macro-Region and its development strategy, one project running on territorial competitiveness, attractiveness (ATTRACTIVE DANUBE) two proposals delivered (AGORA, on social innovative instruments for local development, and ISTER, again cultural heritage as driver for integrated development based on local partnerships and dialogue).

More details in the editorial, this time prepared by Miruna Draghia.

As you see, our answer to the many political uncertainties and to the inertia created by infinite and useless control, formal procedures and delays of public bodies,  is made of ideas and “profound engagement” towards promoting/shaping occasions and contexts for improving the quality of our territory.
Basically and simply, improving our quality of life and the capability of our Romanian, European cities to be competitive.
Many other inputs are in this NL, please, enjoy the reading and send us your feedback, we need it!

Thank you for being interested in what we design!

Pietro Elisei

URBASOFIA director

July 2017


CENTAUR (UIA) – project proposal


The team of URBASOFIA designed and submitted one project proposal entitled CENTAUR under the Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) programme, which has the thematic of Circular Economy (CE), as a driving force for urban and territorial evolutionary change. CENTAUR reflects the territorial and urban process that sets the basis for the Urban Regeneration (UR) through CE of Siena’s UNESCO area. It realizes outdoor and indoor regenerative works composed of vertical gardens, developed through a new process of locally recycled and re-used aluminium and plastic waste. Through the use of advanced tools for community, industry and territorial stakeholders’ involvement, the project breaks current fragmentation in the adoption of CE and launches a replicable policy for creating a competitive and sustainable economic frame both for productive sectors and urban welfare.

Furthermore, Dr. Ing. Pietro Elisei  (General Director of URBASOFIA) participates as UIA expert in another UIA project called MAC – Monteruscello Agro City, Pozzuoli, Italy. The project seeks to reduce urban poverty in the neighbourhood of Monteruscello, where poverty is understood in the social and economic sense and within the physical environment.

More information about the UIA progrmme:
More information about MAC:


ISTER and AGORA DTP – project proposals


URBASOFIA designed and submitted 2 project proposals under the Danube Transnational Programme (DTP), 2nd call for proposals.


ISTER (ConnectIng hiSTorical Danube rEgions Roman routes) is an ambitious but at the same time essential proposal under Danube Transnational Programme, 2nd call for proposals, Priority Axis 2: Environment and Culture responsible Danube region, Specific Objective 2.2: Foster sustainable use of natural and cultural heritage and resources. ISTER’s main objective focuses on rediscovering and revitalising the ancient Roman Roads Network along with the Danube Region as a driver in promoting territorial development based on sustainable use of cultural and natural heritage (specifically, archaeological assets). ISTER promotes Archaeological Cultural Heritage [ACH] as a catalyst for touristic development, as well as an opportunity for territorial competitiveness and sustainable growth of Danube crossed-regions.




The second proposal for DTP, entitled AGORA – Advancing innovative coGeneration Options for Revitalising local Areas, is mainly aiming to increase local capacities in co-producing new policy strategies, revising competencies and recovering space for new economies within a networked system of policy learning and innovation at the transnational level. AGORA bridges creative social economy, political, cultural and institutional capacity by testing a set of innovative instruments (Social Innovation Communities and Community Space Innovation Agendas). The participatory process defined by AGORA leads to an increased capacity of local and regional administration and stakeholders in addressing local challenges for the AGORA partners for increasing the competencies in social and business innovation at Danube Region level.


More information on the approval coming in Autumn 2017. Keep our fingers crossed until then!

The XXXII Italian Geographical Congress


Another event where URBASOFIA participated as speaker is The XXXII Italian Geographical Congress, promoted by the ‘ Association of Italian geographers (held in Rome, on 7th – 10th of June 2017). In the year of fulfilment of the centenary of the October Revolution, and the fifth centenary of the Lutheran Reformation, the themes of the Congress were precisely revolutions and reforms. In the panel session of Europeanisation of spatial planning systems moderated by Angela D’Orazio and Maria Coronato from the Università di Roma Tor Vergata two articles were presented by the Urbasofia team members. One of the articles was presented by PhDc Radu-Matei Cocheci (Urbasofia Collaborator) with the title of The Impact Of Europeanization On National Planning Systems. A Comparison Of Spatial Planning Processes In Italy And Romania, while Dr. Ing. Pietro Elisei (General Director of URBASOFIA) presented another article with the title of A Phase of Dissonant Europeanisation in Spatial Policies.

For more information, please access link here:

TopHotel Tourism & Leisure Investment Conference


URBASOFIA team has participated at the TopHotel Tourism & Leisure  Investment Conference, which is the most important event dedicated to the hotel, tourism and hospitality industry in Romania (held on 25th -26th  of May, 2017). The event brought together specialists from the field of tourism, representatives of local authorities and managers of the largest international hotels on the Romanian market. Our team spoke about the Integrated Tourism Approach in the framework of territorial development strategies on the – Tourism – Destination management for Romania’s locations with high touristic potentials – discussion panel moderated by Mrs. Anca Pavel Nedea. Other key topics in this panel were:

  • Best Practices in the Management of the Ecotourism Destinations in Romania
  • The development of a Destination Experience Management System (DEMS), where tourists share their experiences about different tourist destinations and experiences;
  • New media solutions training for business promotion, interconnection and development


For more information, please access link here:




Strategic plan for a tourist destination


Tourism all season

Diversification of tourism offers

(Specific local exploitation –

Agrotourism, gastronomy,

  Authentic lifestyle)


Education and training

Centres for specialisation and training


ATTRACTIVE DANUBE: First Romanian national workshop

We organized the first Romanian national workshop on the ATTRACTIVE DANUBE project (Improving the Capacity for Increasing the Territorial Attractiveness of the Danube Region) in Bucharest, on the 29th of June 2017, in collaboration with the Registry of Urban Planners in Romania, in the aim of discussing a key topic for policy makers, economy players and civil society at all levels: how to evaluate and monitor territorial attractiveness in Romania.

The workshop spanned 4 hours and two specific sessions:

  1. Presenting / familiarizing participants with the Attractive Danube Project and its aims, inviting professionals as speakers on the topic of tackling territorial attractiveness and consulting the participants’ views on the topic and the concept’s definition;
  2. Discussing and identifying a set of specific indicators for territorial attractiveness in Romania, able to support the various public policy planning processes of territorial planning and development.


The conclusion of the first Romanian workshop within the Attractive Danube Project highlighted some of the key elements regarding future steps in the project, including the next two national meetings to be implemented by December 2017 and the operational results of the project:

1. The set of 22 indicators defined by the ATTRACT-SEE project, if judged stand-alone, bear insufficient relevance for Romania as indicators of the territorial attractiveness of our country in the transnational context of the Danube Region; the indicators will need to be supplemented, through an open, inclusive and participatory process.
2. For Romania, it was emphasized the importance of defining a set of specific and detailed indicators for the Danube rivers (eg at the level of the Danube riparian counties), but without omitting the importance of the entire river basin covering the whole territory of our country ;
3. The evaluation questionnaires handed out to participants highlight, at the preliminary level, the following key messages on the content and organization of the following workshops on defining the set of indicators for monitoring and assessing the territorial attractiveness of Romania in the transnational context of the Danube Region. Illustrated according to the priorities of the EUSDR, the proposals discussed can be divided into the following categories of key indicators:

  1. Interconnecting the Danube Region
    1. Improving mobility and multimodality
      • Accessibility indicators
    2. Encouraging sustainable energies;
      • Environmental indicators
    3. Promoting culture and tourism, direct contacts between people
      • Indicators on cultural background – intangible cultural heritage – traditions and customs
      • Indicators on tourism potential
  2. Protecting the environment in the Danube region
    1. Restoration and maintenance of water quality;
    2. Managing environmental risks;
    3. Conservation of biodiversity, landscapes and air and soil quality
      1. Natural environment indicators (for all categories)
  3. Increasing prosperity in the Danube region
    1. Developing knowledge-based society through research, education and information technologies;
    2. Supporting the competitiveness of enterprises, including the development of clusters;
    3. Investing in people and capabilities;
      • Indicators on the potential of the business environment
  4. Strengthening the Danube Region
    1. Improving institutional capacity and cooperation;
      • Indicators for urban and spatial planning tools;
    2. Working together to promote security and address organized crime and serious crime issues.

In this context, it was reiterated that there are no adequate / relevant indicators on territorial attractiveness, as their relevance is being challenged in specialized studies.

During September 2017, the second national workshop will be organized, and for its preparation we will carry out the following next steps:
1. Widening the stakeholder group at Romanian level with the relevant actors / institutions involved in the process of substantiation of Romania’s planning and territorial development policies;
2. Preparation of an online questionnaire with a set of relevant questions regarding: the territorial attractiveness of Romania and the territorial capital of our country, the specific identification of the needs of the actors involved in the various public policy processes in territorial aspect, the definition of the indicators and indexes relevant to the evaluation and monitoring of Romania’s territorial attractiveness in the transnational context of the Danube Region.

Overall the first workshop was a very productive meeting, and we would like to thank all the participants for their openness and expert opinions!

Download below the presentations and full minutes (in Romanian) of the meeting:

  2. Territorial attractiveness of Romania in the trans-national context of the Danube Region, Mr. Alexandru-Ionut PETRISOR, PhD, PhD, Habil., director of the Urbanism Doctoral School, UAUIM
  3. Attractive Danube – the Cluster Approach, Mr. Vajda Lajos, Vicepresident of the Romanian Clusters Association



The transnational project “ATTRACTIVE DANUBE – Improving Capacities for Enhancing Territorial Attractiveness of the Danube Region” deals with the topic of territorial attractiveness of the Danube Region and the specific elements of potential that make up this region of Europe.

As a key partner of the ATTRACTIVE DANUBE project, URBASOFIA initiates an open, active and constructive dialogue with all relevant actors and decision-makers involved in the process of substantiating and elaborating planning and territorial development policies to define the key elements of territorial attractiveness in Romania. This dialogue consists of three workshops that will run from June to December 2017. The final objective of these workshops is to define at Romania level the set of key indicators that can define and monitor the territorial attractiveness of our country within the transnational territory of the Danube Region.

In order to initiate the dialogue on the definition of territorial attractiveness indicators in Romania, URBASOFIA, with the support of the Urban Register of Romania, invites you to participate in the first Romanian National Workshop of the ATTRACTIVE DANUBE project, which will take place on Thursday 29 June 2017, at the headquarters of the Urban Register of Romania, Strada Tudor Arghezi 21, Bucharest, starting at 14:00.

In case of your interest, please confirm your participation by Monday 26 June 2017 at the e-mail address or at the phone number +40 0773 702 216.

Strategia Integrată Metropolitană Cluj, la Conferința Urban Concept 2017

În cadrul ediției a XVII-a a Conferinței Naționale Urban Concept, care a avut loc în perioada 9-11 martie 2017 la Hotel Mara din Sinaia, am avut ocazia să prezentăm rezultatele procesului de elaborare a Strategiei Integrate de Dezvoltare Urbană (SIDU) pentru Zona Metropolitană Cluj-Napoca. Prezentarea, cu subtitlul „Mai mult decât norme”, oferă o perspectivă critică asupra dificultăților și barierelor administrative și metodologice în calea planificării integrate la nivelul orașelor reședință de județ și a zonelor metropolitane.

Dorim să mulțumim pe această cale organizatorilor, pentru o conferință foarte interesantă, singura la nivel național care a reușit până acum să adune în mod constant împreună specialiști și factori de decizie locali și naționali într-un număr atât de amplu, pentru o discuție profesională pe marginea unei teme atât de importante cum este dezvoltarea urbană.