Core Team

Dr. Ing. Pietro ELISEI

Founder and managing director

(+40) 731 159 785

Town and regional planner, senior researcher and policymaker. He collaborated, as consultant, with ministries, cities and towns all over Europe, holding important positions in international organizations dedicated to urban planning (PLANUM, ISOCARP).

International expert in urban regeneration policies, integrated planning for small-medium sized cities and topics related to smart cities. A collaborator with EU universities and research centers, he works with international institutions (European Commission: URBACT and UIA Secretariats, UN-Habitat, UNECE) for important planning research. Dr. Elisei also routinely holds keynote speeches in international conferences and publishes a number of scientific articles on topics related to urban planning.

Sabina LEOPA

Strategic Planning Expert

sabina.leopa [at]

(+40) 773 702 216

Urban and regional strategic integrated planner working in Transnational / EU R&I projects. PhD candidate researching multilevel governance as an instrument for integrated strategic planning at metropolitan level. Assistant at the „Ion Mincu” University for Architecture and Planning in Bucharest, Romania. URBACT Ad-Hoc Expert, Romanian Professional Association of Urban Planners (APUR) Vicepresident and in-house consultant for ISOCARP.

Worked on several integrated urban development strategies for small and middle-sized cities as well as metropolitan areas in the EU, SUMPs, sectoral / SC strategies. Designing and implementing projects on Horizon2020, Interreg DTP, former FP7, URBACT, recently UIA. Certified trainer.


Urban, territorial & landscape planner

Strategic urban and territorial planning expert currently enrolled as a PhD candidate (FU UAUIM), where she is working as an associated teaching assistant. Former Erasmus student at Faculty of Architecture from University of Lisbon (FAUL). Her research study is mainly oriented towards methodologies, tools and policies for spatial planning at the level of functional urban areas.

She is particularly focused on urban and territorial pressing challenges, being actively engaged in European-funded cooperation projects (Horizon 2020, UIA, INTERREG Danube, URBACT III), paying particular attention to mobility-related topics, cultural heritage as a catalyst for urban development, governance frameworks and collaborative actions of multiple actors, as well as systemic and circular approaches for urban regeneration processes.

Prof. Dr. Nicoleta Silvia IOANA

Executive director

Holding a degree in Philology and a Post-Degree in Communication and Public Relations, Nicoleta is currently involved in projects with a strong social dimension, being responsible for education and continuous professional training and works as a trainer and evaluator of FPC competences. Within Urbasofia, she is responsible for the internal management and project coordination, being involved in overseeing financial, administrative and communication activities.


Urban Planner 


Strategic urban planner holding a degree in Urban Planning and Design, currently enrolled in a master programme in Urban Management for Competitive Cities at “Ion Mincu” University for Architecture and Urban Planning.

By combining her analytical approach, creativity and a profound passion for urban and societal challenges, Natalia has offered her support in urban and territorial analysis and planning, and also in proposal writing in programmes such as Interreg Danube, HORIZON2020 and Urban Innovative Action. Leveraging on her strong inclination to research, she has also contributed at articles writing which she has presented at international level. Her fields of interest are related to sustainable urban development (traditional/nature based solutions and circular economy processes in both urban planning and architecture), shrinking cities and regions and their associated socio-economic and spatial challenges, industrial/brutalist heritage valorization.

Oana Emilia BUDĂU

Urban Planner 


Strategic urban planner holding a bachelor degree in Urban and Territorial Planning (IUAV – Venice, Italy), currently holds the role of Assistant Manager at URBASOFIA. She is particularly interested in sustainable planning methodologies, focus on climate change issue, both in terms of mitigation and adaptation, on which she intend to deepen her studies and specialization.

Emilia has offered her support in urban and territorial analysis and planning, and also in proposal writing in programmes such as Interreg Danube, Urban Innovative Actions (UIA), Horizon2020, Urbact and Erasmus plus in different fields: from sustainable development through the implementation of nature based solution, to cultural heritage and governance urban planning frameworks.


International Strategic Planning Expert

With a master degree in International and Diplomatic Sciences, specialisation in development policies and in pre-accession processes of Eastern European countries (in particular, Romanian case), Gloria has 14 years of professional experience in writing and implementing development and capacity building projects under EU and international organisations’ funds. Included in the DG Regio database of experts, she has been implementing projects and territorial development strategies and plans for local authorities, while also being involved in several projects at central government level, for the formulation and evaluation of public policies (i.e. Labour law) and programmes (SAPARD and POR 2014-2020). She is certified trainer and Green Belt Lean Six Sigma, for process analysis and improvement. Within Urbasofia, she is currently involved also as an ad hoc expert in support of Horizon 2020 Build-in-Wood, with the main role of facilitating the capitalisation of research result into cities’ development strategies, procedures and practices.

Dr. Pietro L. VERGA

Urban Researcher & Local Development Advisor

Born and raised in Milan, Italy, he holds an MS in Urban Planning & Policy Design from Milan’s Polytechnic and a Ph.D. in Urban Studies from Gran Sasso Science Institute and Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna. He has been a Visiting Scholar at CUNY’s Hunter College in New York (2012), at the Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space in Berlin (2015), and at the Institute for European Urban Studies of the Bauhaus University in Weimar (2016).

Pietro L. Verga is an urban researcher and advisor with a focus on the development and regeneration of cities and neighbourhoods through participatory/collaborative approaches. His most recent work includes nature-based regeneration solutions, circular ecosystems, and innovative urban regeneration governance instruments. He is also an URBACT III Validated Lead Expert for Urban Strategic Planning, as well as a Board Member of LDnet.