My research is inspired by a strong interest in public policy and a desire to apply academic knowledge in a real-world context.
My focus is on the impact of urban restructuring policies in ethnic and working-class neighborhoods of post-industrial North American cities. Over the last three years, my research scope has come to include investigations of the social costs and benefits of institutional "green" agendas implemented in entrepreneurial, competition-oriented policy contexts.
I earned my Ph.D. in Theory of Urban Planning at the Center for Metropolitan Studies of the Technical University Berlin in partnership with the GSAPP of Columbia University New York, with a dissertation focusing on politics of land-use and city branding in New York City under the administration of Michael Bloomberg. I have published extensively about these topics in international peer-reviewed journals as well as in popular volumes like "The World in Brooklyn," published in 2012.
A book based on my research, and titled "The Creative Destruction of New York - Reengineering the City for the Elite", is forthcoming in early 2017 from Oxford University Press.
I am actively involved with new media (open-access publications, documentary film-making and photojournalism). My four year-experience as founder and editor-in-chief of “The Urban Reinventors” Online Journal on Urban Studies has showed me that a diversified and multi-disciplinary approach to dissemination can help trigger the audience’s engagement and enthusiasm in the discipline and encourage the development of individual perspectives.
Aside from the academic activity, I have written extensively about architecture and urban issues in popular magazines and newspapers. I am an amateur documentary film-maker: my film “Ein Berliner Haus – Last Summer in Berlin Mitte” (2008) tells the struggles of marginalized residents of an old tenement house in former East Berlin in the midst of the gentrification boom in the surrounding area. The film has been screened in several film festivals across the globe, from Montreal to Honolulu.
My teaching philosophy reflects the multidisciplinary approach I implement in my scholarly research. In my teaching and lecturing experience I have encouraged the students’ involvement with new media (internet platforms, open-access publications, film-making and reportage) and I motivated them to think at the edge of different disciplines, i.e. highlighting the interplay between urban planning and real estate economics, geographies of consumption and gentrification phenomena, urban development and everyday urban practices. Students’ reactions have been overwhelmingly positive. I favor a student-centered teaching that stimulates a mutual exchange of information between students and teacher and that encourages frank and open discussions.