Sergio Porta

Sergio Porta was born in Reggio Emilia, Italy, in February 1964.

Dr. Porta, architect, Ph.D, is Professor of Urban Design at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, UK. Dr. Porta is coordinator of an international network of space analysis and design scientists named UStED – Urban Sustainability through Environmental Design ( He is member of ESRG, Environmental Structure Research Group and Academy of Urbanism. He is member of the editorial boards of Environment and Planning B, Planning and Design and Urban Design International (

Since graduation in 1988 Dr. Porta works on architectural design and urban planning consultancy in Milan and Reggio Emilia until 1996. It is in this period that Dr. Porta focuses his interests mostly on topics related to the social dimension of architecture and public space design. Since 1996, while entering the Ph.D programme in regional and urban planning at the Politechnic of Milan, Dr. Porta begins his post-graduate research and education back into the academic system. He then attends another two years post-doctoral research which ends up in 2002. Since the end of 2002 he is assistant professor at the Politechnic of Milan.

As a Ph.D. and then a post doctoral student, Dr. Porta holds a six-months visiting scholar position at the Institute of Governmental Studies of the UC Berkeley (1998) and a four-months associate researcher position at the Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy of the Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia (2001), where he teaches a short course on sustainable urban design.

Dr. Porta’s latest research is mainly oriented to the definition of procedures, attitudes and tools for sustainable/human/adaptive urban analysis and design, ranging from GIS-based space analysis to sustainable community design, transportation planning and traffic calming techniques to strategies for safety and liveability in the public scene.

In particular Dr. Porta has recently been leading a joint reserach with Dr. Vito Latora, National Institute of Nuclear Physics of Catania, Sicily, aimed at developing tools for the network analysis of urban spatial systems, includine those of streets and intersections. The tool, named Multiple Centrality Assessment (MCA), allows for mapping centrality in urban spaces and establishing correlations with relevant dynamcis such as land-use, vehicular or pedestrian flows, crime rates.

Moreover, a new frontier of research is currently under scrutiny that involves a quantitative approach to urban morphology, i.e. the statistical characterization of different types of urban fabrics taken from the history of cities in order to infer “parental” relationships between them in an urban evolutionary perspective. Because of the biologic analogy that sustains it, this new branch of studies can be termed Urban Morphometrics.

His research has been presented and discussed at the international level in:

  • Vancouver (EDRA 36 Conference, May 2005),
  • London (CUPUM 05 Conference, July 2005),
  • Glasgow (EPUK 04 Conference, September 2005),
  • Kuwait City (First Gulf Conference on Urban Design, February 2006),
  • Oxford (City Form Seminar, May 2006),
  • Venice (Biennale, October 2006),
  • Dublin-Maynooth (Geocomputation Conference, September 2007),
  • Paris-Nanterre (Observatoire International de la Démocratie Partecipative, November 2007),
  • London (City Form Conference, November 2007),
  • London (Annual Quality Streetscapes Conference, June 2008),
  • New Dehli (City Form India Conference, August 2008); publications include papers on Environment and Planning B, Urban Design International, Chaos, Physica A, Physical Review E, The European Physical Journal B, a contribution to Haas T, ed. (2006),
  • New Urbanism and Beyond: the future of urban design, Rizzoli, New York, USA, and the edited volume Urban Sustainability through Environmental Design, Routledge, 2007.

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