ATTRACTIVE DANUBE: 2nd National Workshop in Brașov, Romania

The second national Romanian „ATTRACTIVE DANUBE” workshop was organized by URBASOFIA on October 18th 2017, in Brașov, with the support of the Brasov Metropolitan Agency, Brasov City Hall and the CLUSTERO Association. The meeting was part of a suite of three such workshops under the ATTRACTIVE DANUBE project, aimed at jointly identifying the national-specific sets of indicators that can be used to monitor and assess attractiveness at different territorial levels. The first working meeting took place on 29 June 2017 in Bucharest and was organized at the Romanian Register of Urban Planners, aiming to open the dialogue with professionals, institutions and the central administrative level. Following this discussion, the meeting on 18 October was organized in order to bring the discussion closer to local problems, solutions and specificities, but also regional-specific traits in Romania.



With 30 participants from the public administration (Regional Agency for the Center Region, Brașov County Council, Brașov Metropolitan Agency, Municipalities of Brașov, Codlea, Săcele, the City of Râșnov, Vulcan Commune), Local Action Groups (LAG Ținutul Bârsei), Clusters and incubators (Technology and Innovation Cluster, Green Energy Cluster, the Association of Romanian Incubators and Business Centers, CLUSTERO) as well as professional associations (Romanian Architects’ Union, Romanian Scientists’ Academy), the meeting was a success – both in what concerns reaching to the root of many national/regional development barriers as well as addressing potential ways to assess, change and monitor these problems.

The meeting aimed at generating an open discussion on the following three topics:

  1. Key territorial capital components in Romania and modalities of quantification: What are the national and regional specifics in our country?
  2. Data, indicators and information: What are the needs (data, indicators, capacity, platforms) in the territorial planning process?
  3. Can a specific set of indicators for territorial attractiveness (available and concrete), be identified, and can that be an operational tool for measuring and monitoring the Romanian territorial attractiveness in the context of the Danube Region?

The 5-hour meeting was productive – many important local needs and specific territorial traits at regional and national level have been analyzed, and the participants identified and ranked based on importance a first set of territorial attractiveness indicator categories. These indicators will complement the 22 general ATTRACT-SEE indicators previously developed, on which the ATTRACTIVE DANUBE project relies.

We would like to thank all participants for their active involvement and their input! In February 2018, the third workshop at the national level will be organized, and we will announce its location soon. But until then, this is our to-do list:

  1. Expanding the working group at Romanian level with the relevant actors / institutions involved in substantiating and elaborating Romania’s planning and territorial development policies, and informing them about the Attractive Danube Project;
  2. Drafting the extensive list of attractiveness indicators, which will be shared with the participants and other relevant stakeholders at central, regional and local level in Romania, in order to gather  additions / positions and to continue the dialogue in the preparation of the third workshop.

Stay tuned and follow ATTRACTIVE DANUBE on: Facebook | Twitter | DTP Website 

Attractive Danube in the REAL CORP2017

This year’s REAL CORP proposed a challenging theme: Panta Rhei – a World in Constant Motion. In their own words, mobility is a multifaceted topic with a complex past development, so how can we use today’s knowledge and techniques to shape the forward-looking mobility of tomorrow?

There have been a plethora of interesting presentation in the three-day conference. But, while most of them focused on the technological and town planning aspects of mobility, we wanted to tackle mobility as a macro-trend: the slow depopulation of the Danube Region and the south east of Europe, through outmigration and falling fertility rates. A challenge like no other, which we propose to tackle through the ATTRACTIVE DANUBE project:


UIA Pozzuoli: 1st Expert Visit in Monterusciello

URBASOFIA is pleased to report on a very interesting Study Visit in Pozzuoli, for the implementation of the project “Monterusciello Agro City – MAC”, organized by UIA Expert Dr. Pietro Elisei in collaboration with the municipal administration of Pozzuoli.

The MAC project seeks to reduce urban poverty in the neighborhood of Monteruscello, where poverty is understood in the social and economic sense and within the physical environment. The proposal is designed to trigger a process of economic, entrepreneurial, and social development, together with the improving of the urban environment. Monteruscello is a new large public housing district with 20,000 residents with low-income, a high level of unemployment, and characterised by large unused spaces. Problematic social conditions are combined with a difficult urban environment, in particular for the character of emptiness, anonymity, and decay of the common spaces.

Through the prestigious flagship European Programme UIA – Urban Innovative Actions, 30 hectares of Municipal open areas will be transformed into farmland, developed with the innovative techniques of permaculture in order to spearhead an economic process and urban growth as a means to combat poverty. The project will have three pillars: implementation of agriculture through innovative permaculture; improvement of the urban environment; and encouragement of entrepreneurship and employment. Read more about the project here.

An Urban Walk was organized in the morning, where the project partnership and important local stakeholders discovered the territory and addressed the main challenges of sustainably redeveloping the large unused urban areas into permacultural plots and connected facilities, including local km 0 markets and community spaces.
The discussion continued at the headquarters of the Civil Protection Center in Pozzuoli (Via Elio Vittorini, 1 – Monterusciello),with a meeting and debate involving the mayor Vincenzo Figliolia, Fiorella Zabatta (Environment) Roberto Gerundo (Territoral Government), Director of EU Projects for Urbasofia Sabina Leopa, URBACT Expert Paola Amato, Regional Adviser for Agriculture and Forestry of the Campania Region Franco Alfieri, Representative of the Managing Unit Protection of the Quality of Agricultural Products Maria Passari. The end session consisted of an open debate regarding the most pressing challenges faced by the Monterusciello neighborhood, and included diverse perspectives of the project stakeholders, ranging from university experts, agriculture associations, the city hall, to training experts.

Below, you may find the presentations of Dr. Elisei and Sabina Leopa held during the event. We will return soon with more details on the outcomes of this first event, but in the meantime, we invite you to keep updated via the Monterusciello Agro City (MAC) Pozzuoli Facebook Page!

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