The multidisciplinary PhD course: A history and a way forward

Ruba Saleh


This paper attempts to trace the last three decades of the PhD in Regional Planning and Public Policies (RPPP) at Iuav, Venice.  The programme started in 1985; fifteen years after Giovanni Astengo established an undergraduate course in urban planning at the Iuav  Venice University of Architecture. Astengo was a leading authority on urban planning in the twentieth century, and the founder of the first graduate urban planning program in Italy. On the national level he was a vigorously active urban planner, who contributed both to the drafting of several Italian laws concerning the protection of the territory and landscape,(DOES "protection of the territory and landscape" simply mean 'the environment'?) and a number of far-reaching plans. Astengo was the honorary president of the Italian National Institute of Planning (INU) from 1986 to 1990.  He also re-founded the magazine Urbanistica, the magazine of the INU in 1949 and directed it for almost three decades.Another significant pioneer, Pierluigi Crosta who coordinated the course for two decades, was, and still is, a leader in the theory and development of the discipline.  Professor Crosta had a clear vision which he communicated to his students. In 2010, Crosta retired and many changes came about. A new coordinator was appointed with a new teaching plan. This paper has two objectives. First of all, it will aim to trace the contributions of Crosta to development of the subject at national level. Secondly, it will try to reflect the viewpoints of some of the PhD candidates who experienced the transition after Crosta, as a way to improve the methodology and organizational structure. Finally, it will speculate on the possibility of establishing a research centre at Iuav for the advancement of studies on contemporary cities.


Italian Planning; Italy; PhD education; Doctoral education; Doctorate; Higher education; Italian PhD students; Urban Studies; Iuav Venice

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