About Us

We are an EU-funded research network that undertakes research in the field of spatial planning and heritage. The governance and regulation of the built environment through town or spatial planning has a determining effect on the quality and vitality of tangible and intangible cultural heritage. The processes and tools of planning vary from place to place and give different degrees of attention to the historic built environment. Our research aims to understand and compare the various approaches and their evolution. Our research questions are concerned with the complex relationships and processes within planning and governance institutions and the interplay with citizens’ understandings of place.


The academic partners that form the core of the network are:

TU Delft  (NL) has a strong track record on international comparative research on urban/town planning and governance, including numerous EU Framework and JPI projects. The team is led by Vincent Nadin, the Chair of Spatial Planning at TU Delft and an accomplished author on town planning. He is supported by Wout van der Toorn Vrijthoff, former Associate Professor in Real Estate Management and Azadeh Kermani, a PhD candidate in heritage conservation. The Architecture Chair of Design and History at TU Delft will also be providing advice on the contribution of anthropology.

GURU is the Global Urban Research Unit in the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, at Newcastle University (UK). GURU has expertise in resilience, participatory governance, heritage policy and experimental participatory technologies. Moreover, it has considerable expertise in working in areas of industrial transformation. GURU has a strong collaboration with local stakeholder such as Newcastle City Council and the Ouseburn Trust. GURU has almost 30 academic staff and is a globally significant organisation in research on cities.

IUAV di Venezia is one of the leading academies in Italy for architecture, conservation, construction and urban planning. The City of Venice provides an unparalleled context for developing understanding of the urban cultural heritage and IUAV is renowned for its expertise in urban conservation and planning, with a long record of local, national and international research and consultancy. It is especially experienced in assisting in multidisciplinary capacity-building in conservation of urban landscapes. IUAV has very close interconnections with the Municipality of Venice and adjacent regions.

NTNU – the Norwegian University for Science and Technology is the primary research institution in Norway with particular emphasis on cross-disciplinary research. It maintains a central research theme on sustainable cities, including understanding the effects of climate change on urban development and planning, and the potential and impacts of ‘smart cities’ technology. It has a strong interest in urban cultural heritage across numerous disciplines from archaeology to construction and provides a degree in heritage management. NTNU has strong working relations the Trondheim Kommune where the case studies will take place.

UCD – the School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy at University College Dublin brings together the disciplines of architecture, environmental policy, landscape architecture and regional and urban planning to provide a unique multidisciplinary teaching and research environment for design and policy analysis for the built and natural environment.