Dr Luisa Bravo

February 13, 2013
By City Space Architecture






Founder and President

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Journal of Public Space

Founder and Director of our Public Space Academy



Luisa Bravo is a public space scholar and passionate activist, a cultural entrepreneur and an academic. She has more than 20-years experience in the professional field as urban planner and designer with a specific focus on public space. Her expertise is grounded in extensive academic postdoctoral research and teaching in Italy and Europe, the United States, Middle East, Asia and Australia. Throughout her academic career, she held different academic positions, in Italy and abroad, and she has been the recipient of prestigious grants and awards such as the Marco Polo scholarship for a postdoctoral research period as Visiting Scholar at IURD – Institute of Urban and Regional Development at University of California Berkeley (USA, 2012) and the Australia Award Endeavour Executive Fellowship for professional development, fully funded by the Australian Government, Department of Education and Training, hosted at the Queensland University of Technology, School of Design, Faculty of Creative Industries (Australia, 2018).

Luisa collaborates with the UN-Habitat's Global Public Space Programme and she is an international renowned speaker at major UN-Habitat global summits, such as Habitat III conference in Quito (Ecuador, 2016), 9th World Urban Forum in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia, 2018), the 2nd Saudi Urban Forum in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia, 2018), the first UN-Habitat Assembly (Nairobi, 2019), the 10th World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates, 2020).
Luisa is currently Adjunct Professor in Urban Design at the University of Florence in Italy, teaching at the International Master Degree 'Geography, Spatial management, Heritage for International Cooperation' at the School of Humanities and Education.

As Founder and President of City Space Architecture and as Founder and Editor in chief of The Journal of Public Space, Luisa is fully committed to spreading awareness on the importance of public space for sustainable urban development and to work for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda adopted at the Habitat III conference in Quito. Luisa’s lecture ‘Stand up for Public Space!’ has been included in the UN Habitat Global Urban Lectures series (season 4 - 2017), one of the UN-Habitat’s most publicly shared online outreach initiatives. 'Stand up for Public Space!' is also a global campaign promoted by City Space Architecture that Luisa is leading as principal researcher - http://www.standupforpublicspace.org/ that was launched at the Habitat III conference during a networking event (2016). At the 9th World Urban Forum in Kuala Lumpur (2018) Luisa curated the exhibition 'We the People, We the Public Space' and at the 10th World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi (2020) she curated  the exhibition 'Public Space is Vital for an Equitable Urban Future', in collaboration with 16 global institutions. Luisa is currently curating City Space Architecture's activities as partner organization of 'A-PLACE. Linking places through networked artistic practices', a project co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Luisa promoted the global initiative '2020: A Year without Public Space under the COVID-19 Pandemic' through City Space Architecture and in partnership with the School of Architecture at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, affiliated to The Journal of Public Space.

Luisa's critical understanding and research on architecture, cities and public space have been recognized at the international stage as being innovative and meaningful, especially in making academic discussions accessible to large, often non-expert, audience through art-based projects and networking activities aimed at public engagement.
Luisa is the Founder and Curator of the Public Space Museum, the first Italian research centre entirely dedicated to collaborative and transdisciplinary approach to public space practice, merging art and architecture into a complex new discipline. The Museum is developed in partnership with the Italian for-profit company Genius Saeculi, that she established in 2019.


Extended curriculum 

Luisa Bravo holds a MSc five-year degree in Architectural Engineering (2001), with a thesis in Urban Planning and Design - mark 100/100 - and a Ph.D. in Building and Territorial Engineering (2008), from University of Bologna, Department of Architecture, with a thesis on Contemporary Urbanism entitled “Public versus private: the fickle search for a plan for the urban well-being”. She received her education also in France (1996), at CEPIA - Centre d’Etudes sur le patrimonie et l’Italianitè en Architecture, supported by Conseil General de la Loire Atlantique - Direction du Development educatif, culturel et des transports, and in UK (1997), at the Prince of Wales’s Institute of Architecturewithin the Urban Design Task Force in Lebanon (Beirut and Sidon). 


Since 2002 Luisa has been enrolled in the Professional Register of Engineers in Italy. After four years (2001-2005) of professional practice at “Studio Enarco” (Bologna, Italy), as a Project Manager for new public buildings and infrastructures, in 2005 she founded her own Architectural Engineering professional studio “Bravo Design” in Bologna, where she currently works.

Since 2003 she has collaborated in research programs in Italy promoted by the Institute of Artistic, Cultural and Natural Heritage of Emilia-Romagna Region, by MIBAC – Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Environmental Conservation, both for the Regional Department in Emilia-Romagna and for the Main Office in Rome (PaBAACex PARC), and by the Department of Architecture and Territorial Planning, University of Bologna.
Research fellow in 2008 for a National Research Program funded by the Italian Ministry of University, Research and Education, in 2009 she has been appointed as a Postdoctoral research associate at the Department of Architecture, University of Bologna (2009-2014). In the past 15 years she held several academic positions: Lecturer in Urban Design at University of Bologna (Italy, 2011), Lecturer for the Direct Study Abroad promoted by Carleton University, Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism in Bologna (Canada, 2011-12) Visiting Scholar at IURD - Institute of Urban and Regional Development, University of California Berkeley (USA, 2012), Guest Lecturer at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, School of Architecture (Hong Kong, 2014) and at Keio University, co+labo Radovic (Tokyo, 2015), Adjunct Professor in Architecture and Landscape at University of Parma (Italy, 2014-15), Adjunct Professor in Urban Planning and Design at University of Florence, Department of Architecture (Italy 2013-present),Visiting Assistant Professor at Lebanese American University, School of Architecture and Design (Lebanon, 2015), Adjunct Associate Professor (2016-2019) and Endeavour Executive Fellow (2018) at Queensland University of Technology (Australia), School of Design, Faculty of Creative IndustriesInstructor for the 'Advanced Urbanism Studio. Urban Spaces of the City' at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Master in Urbanism Studies at the School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), in Stockholm (Sweden, 2018-19). Over the past 15 years, Luisa organized and curated exhibitions and conferences in Italy and abroad, working in collaboration with international and multi-disciplinary teams, she extensively published contributions and essays in peer-reviewed journals and books, she served as reviewer for international conferences, journals, and doctoral dissertations, advisor, supervisor and co-supervisor for Master thesis, she was the recipient of international grants and awards, she was also involved as a professional in urban planning activities for Italian Municipalities. 
Luisa presented her research work in several leading academic conferences as invited/selected speaker, such as (most relevant): the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland (UK), the International Planning History Society (IPHS), the International Forum on Urbanism (IFoU), the International Seminar on Urban Form (ISUF), the European symposium on Research in Architecture and Urban Design (EURAU), the Italian Institute of Urbanism (INU) Annual Congress, the Biennial of Public Space (BiSP) in Rome, the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna, the Italian Society of Urbanists (SIU) and the American Association of Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting. Luisa was also selected to attend the Urban Age 'Shaping Cities' conference promoted by the London School of Economics and Political Science held at the Venice Architecture Biennale (2016) and the Meeting of the Minds Mobility Summit in Boston held at the Microsoft New England Nerd Center (2017). Luisa was a keynote speaker at the 10th IFoU - International Forum on Urbanism 'The Entrepreneurial City' held at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (2017), at the Green Building Council South Africa Annual Conference ‘Beyond. Shaping cities of tomorrow’ in Cape Town (South Africa, 2019) and at ‘The Days of Architects 3.0’, promoted by the Croatian Chamber of Architects in Split (Croatia, 2019).


In 2013 Luisa founded "City Space Architecture", a non-profit cultural association based in Bologna (Italy), aimed at creating an international network discussing about architecture, public space, cities and urbanity. More than one hundred scholars already joined City Space Architecture, from leading Universities, together with professionals, public administrators, city managers, artists and designers, photographers and film-makers, thus establishing a real network of cultural exchange and international knowledge. Luisa was the Chair of the first "Past Present and Future of Public Space. International Conference on Art, Architecture and Urban Design", held in Bologna (Italy), on June 25-27, 2014, and she is currently coordinating “MaPS. Mastering Public Space”, a collaborative research network on cities and urbanity, "Pop-up City", a photography research project on instant urbanity and "Urban Visions. Beyond the Ideal City", a cinematography competition for short films, a section of the Italian Festival "Visioni Italiane" promoted by Cineteca di Bologna.

Under her visionary leadership, City Space Architecture grew very fast: in 2016 it was included in the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs' Civil Society database and was engaged in the United Nations General Assembly of Partners (GAP), Research and Academia Partner Constituent Group, and in 2016 became partner of the UN-Habitat's Global Public Space Programme.


Luisa is Founding Editor and Journal Manager of 'The Journal of Public Space', the first, international, interdisciplinary, academic, open access journal entirely dedicated to public space, as a research project she developed thorugh City Space Architecture in partnership with UN-Habitat, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme. In 2018 she took the role of Editor in Chief. The Journal was launched at the Habitat III conference, the United Nations conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, that took place in Quito, Ecuador, on October 17-20, 2016, during a talk at the Urban Library, on October 19. At Habitat III Luisa also coordinated the networking event 'Stand up for Public Space!' and launched the global campaign aimed to raise awareness about the importance of public space in our cities, promoted by City Space Architecture in collaboration with the Queensland University of Technology, based in Australia, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, based in Hong Kong, the University of Auckland, based in New Zealand, and LASE+CityUrb based in Ecuador.

Luisa’s lecture ‘Stand up for Public Space!’ has been included in the UN Habitat Global Urban Lectures series (season 4 - 2017), one of the UN-Habitat’s most publicly shared online outreach initiatives. 
After being selected and invited to attend the 26th UN-Habitat Governing Council in Nairobi (May 2017) and the High Level Meeting on the New Urban Agenda of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York (September 2017), Luisa was also engaged in multiple events at the 9th World Urban Forum in Kuala Lumpur (February 2018), for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda adopted in Quito. City Space Architecture was selected as exhibitor to be part of the 9th World Urban Forum, together with other 200 exhibitors from 50 countries. In City Space Architecture's booth at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre Luisa curated the interactive exhibition 'We the people, We the public space' and interviewed 30 global stakeholders to discuss on the importance of public space. She also coordinated the networking event 'We the public space: strategies to deal with inequalities in order to achieve inclusive and sustainable urban environments' and served as an invited speaker in several events. More info on Luisa's activities at WUF9 are available here.
In preparation for the 10th World Urban Forum (WUF10) to take place in Abu Dhabi (UAE), in August 2019 on behalf of City Space Architecture Luisa launched a global campaign to raise awareneed about the importance of public space, inviting scholars, professionals, artists and activists to include public space in the concept note of WUF10. The campaigne raised global attention and attracted a lot of interest. Later City Space Architecture was selected as exhibitor to be part of the 10th World Urban Forum and promoted the exhibition 'Public space is vital for an equitable urban future', in collaboration with 16 institutions working globally on public space projects and initiatives, such as The Chinese University of Hong Kong  /  Healthbridge Foundation of Canada  /  Block by Block  /  Project for Public Spaces  /  University of Auckland  /  Columbia University  /  Federal University of Rio de Janeiro  /  Auckland City Council  /  KTH Centre for the the Future of Places  /  IHC Global  /   Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization  /  Sustasis Foundation  /  Global Utmaning  /  Public Space Research Group (PSRG)  /  Ukrainian City and Regional Planning Research Center  /  General Assembly of Partners (GAP) Older Persons. At WUF10 Luisa coordinated also a side event at the Urban Library to present The Journal of Public Space and launch its latest issues, including the special issue 'Placemaking in Arab Cities', and served as an invited speaker in several events. 



Follow Luisa on Academia: https://cityspacearchitecture.org.academia.edu/Luisa_Bravo

Follow Luisa on ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Luisa_Bravo

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