UTF 1st Edition

Urban Thinking Festival, 1st Edition: Smart Planning for Cultural Heritage

The Romanian Professional Association of Urban Planners (APUR), together with Urbasofia SRL and the International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP) – Romania, proposes the organization of an international Urban Thinking Festival. The theme for the festival’s 1st edition will be Smart Planning for Cultural Heritage, in close connection to other events related to the European Year of Cultural Heritage – 2018.


Romanian Professional Association of Urban Planners (APUR)

Urbasofia SRL

International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP) – Romanian National Delegation

Partners / sponsors:

Brașov Municipality

Brașov Metropolitan Agency

Romanian Register of Urban Planners

Romanian Union of Architects

Chamber of Architects in Romania – Brașov – Covasna – Harghita branch

EUROLINK Foundation


Transilvania University

Urbaplan SRL


Media partners:

Arhitectura magazine

Igloo media


About the festival
The minute of the festival detailing the events organized in Brasov between the 25th of August and the 1st of September is available here.


The final programme of the Urban Thinking Festival can be viewed here.

A more detailed programme is available here.


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 will take 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.

What are we offering?

As a comprehensive event, the Urban Thinking Festival includes:

  • 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 is 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.

Besides access to the above-mentioned activities, the attendance fee for students will also cover the welcome reception (Saturday – 25th of August 2018), a welcome pack, as well as lunch breaks and coffee breaks for the five working days.

Transportation and accommodation costs will have to be covered by the participants.

Who can participate?

We encourage 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 encourage applications from professionals in a wide range of domains: architecture, urban planning, history, geography, economy, sociology, IT, engineering.

International experts


  Dhiru A. Thadani, AIA is an architect and urbanist who has been in practice since 1980, and has worked internationally. He has been principal designer of new towns and cities, urban regeneration, neighborhood revitalization, and infill densification. Since its formation in 1993, Dhiru has been a charter member of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), and served as Task Force Chair and Board Member from 1997 to 2013.  In 2016 he was elected to be Vice President of Membership and Treasurer for the International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP).  In 2015 he was appointed to the inaugural CNU College of Fellows, and received the International Society of City and Regional Planners’ Lifetime Achievement Award.  He is the recipient of the 2011 Seaside Prize, an award given for significant contributions to the quality and character of communities.  In 2001 he was a Knight Foundation Community Builder Fellow.
   Giovanni Ginocchini (architect) is, since 2012, the director of Urban Center Bologna, which was recently transformed into Fondazione per l’Innovazione Urbana (Urban Innovation Foundation), an institution focused on urban transformation issues in Bologna. He has been an advisor for urban projects at European, national, regional and local levels. In the past he has collaborated with the Department of Architecture and Planning of the Polytechnic University of Milan and has worked for the project Planum – European Journal of planning. He has given lectures in many universities and conferences and has published several essays of international resonance.

Roland van der Heijden (Product Manager – Digital City Rotterdam) is an urban planner, having worked in recent years for the city of Rotterdam for developing their Digital City platform. He has also been involved in the use of geo-information and GIS within a sustainable urban development framework for the city.


Pietro Elisei is an experienced Urban Planner with a demonstrated history of working in the Town and Regional Planning context. Skilled in Sustainable Development, Strategic Planning, Urban Planning, Feasibility Studies, Mixed-use, and Policy Design (Focus Urban Regeneration). Strong business development professional graduated from University of Rome „LA SAPIENZA”, Doctorate In Urban Policy Design from University of Roma 3 and post doc activities from both Roma 3 and University of Roma 2 (Tor Vergata). Currently Managing Director of Urbasofia (www.urbasofia.eu). EC UIA (Urban Innovative Actions) Expert, EC URBACT Expert. Former planum.net secretary General, former ISOCARP Vice President.


Izabela Mironowicz is professor in urban planning and director of the studies in spatial planning at the Faculty of Architecture, Wrocław University of Science and Technology. Her professional experience includes both work for the cities and academia. She is also a member of the National Board of the Society of Polish Town Planners with the responsibility for international cooperation. With more than 100 publications Izabela is a prominent theorist in urban planning and urban studies as well as in planning education.


Manfred Schrenk is an expert on „Cities and Technologies“ („Smart Cities“, „Future Cities“, „Sustainable Cities“, transport and mobility) with more then 20 years of experience in urban planning, spatial development, mobility and transport planning, GIS and planning technologies, information and knowledge society. He is the director of CORP association, that organizes annual international congresses on the mentioned topics for more then 20 years and makes all results freely accessible

Valentina Gianfrate is Professor of Advanced Design and Technology Integration at the University of Bologna. She is a researcher involved in the development of International projects linked to Cultural Heritage led regeneration initiatives (ROCK project nr. 730280), in urban transition processes (linked to Climate Kic platform), in educational cross-city programs. She is author of international and national papers about the combination between heritage conservation and sustanainable growth strategies, circular models applied to historic cities, and co-design processes for urban transformation.