About the Festival

Goal and expectations

The Urban Thinking Festival aims to propose, through the work of selected students and young professionals, invited international experts and capitalizing on existing local knowledge, new methodologies for tackling spatial planning for cultural heritage in small and middle-sized cities. The output of the festival is twofold: a manifesto for smart planning, including possible approaches and methods for developing cities based on cultural heritage, as well as a spatial cultural concept for the host city, that can be detailed in subsequent projects to improve the city’s image in relation to the conservation and capitalization of its cultural heritage.

The overall assignment for the Urban Thinking Festival’s participants can be downloaded here.

When and where?

The festival had taken place between the 25th of August and the 1st of September 2018, in the city of Brașov in Romania – a former medieval city of Transilvania and one of the country’s most important economic centres, now facing multiple challenges related to its economic development, metropolitan growth and the necessity to conserve its significant cultural heritage.


As a comprehensive event, the Urban Thinking Festival included:

  • A one-day study visit in the historical centre of Brașov, coordinated by local guides (architects, historians) – the 26th of August 2018.
  • 5 working days (Summer School component), each coordinated by 1-2 international experts in different fields related to urban planning and cultural heritage:
    • Public Spaces (Dhiru Thadani – 27th of August 2018)
    • Urban Regeneration and Architectural Conservation (Valentina Gianfrate & Giovanni Ginocchini – 28th of August 2018)
    • Cultural heritage & Smart Cities (Roland van der Heijden & Manfred Schrenk – 29th of August 2018)
    • Sustainable development (Izabela Mironowicz) & Urban Governance (Pietro Elisei) – 30th of August 2018
    • The final (5th) day dedicated to the final presentations of the proposed Planning Strategic Concepts, to be held in the Brașov City Hall

Each working day was followed by informal, public events meant to encourage professional debates around the different challenges raised by the conservation and capitalization of cultural heritage: round-tables, public screenings of documentaries related to cultural heritage.

A detailed programme of the 1st edition of the Urban Thinking Festival is available here.


We encouraged applications from master degree students, PhD students or young professionals (age limit: 35 years) who showcase their interest in the domains of urban planning, architecture, cultural heritage, tourism or technology / smart cities. We consider interdisciplinarity a key to providing quality expertise in cultural heritage related issues, as a result we encouraged applications from professionals in a wide range of domains: architecture, urban planning, history, geography, economy, sociology, IT, engineering.